Here, there and everywhere: That’s where you’ll find communication students engaged, involved and enlightening the community.
Suzanne Stromberg, senior instructor and experiential learning coordinator in the Department of Communication, has specialized in experiential learning, both via management of the internship program for 11 years, and by implementing service learning into her courses starting in 2006. She is not only a mentor, she is a catalyst ensuring students in the Department of Communication have access to the latest, most advantageous education offerings.
Stromberg has used service learning as a component in her Senior Seminar Course as well as Business and Professional Speaking. “I really try to stay abreast of all the trends in our field in terms of emerging fields, employer demands, etc.,” she explains.
Students in the Senior Seminar course produced large scale events such as the Feed Your Awareness Hunger Banquet here on the Auraria Campus, and students have executed a wide range of individual projects as well.
This past fall, Stromberg realized that service learning can be done off-site and on the computer. “I decided to try out service learning in an online environment and I was pleasantly surprised to find that yes, it can be done,” she says.
Some learning projects and outcomes include:
Gilda’s Club Chicago – Noogieland, event planning and flyer design.
CU Denver Sustainability Fair, public relations, promotion planning, gift basket donations, etc.
Cavity Free at 3, training materials, posters and ads.
Sense of Security – Champagne and Diamonds event, marketing plan, billboard design, commercial.
And those are only a few of the projects in which students are involved. In fact, some students’ experience has carried over. “I was very gratified to hear that some of the students decided to extend their projects beyond the semester,” Stromberg says.
Hands-on education opportunities are boundless and they’re expanding in leaps and bounds. “In past years, when I have surveyed the Senior Seminar Course about previous service learning or volunteer experience, the vast majority reported that they didn’t have any experience at all,” she says. “This is changing . . . there are so many opportunities in our department for service learning and a lot of exciting projects are happening via the Experiential Learning Center.”
Experiential learning is important not only academically, but for personal growth. “The research is clear that service learning in college can lead to increased civic engagement throughout life, so I’m excited that this is becoming part of our university culture,” Stromberg says.