4 Perks of Academic Service-Learning

written by Jaime Notzen

St. Norbert College offered two community engagement opportunities for J-Term 2016.

Dr. Laurie MacDiarmid’s Creative Nonfiction Workshop course introduces students to creative nonfiction (personal essay, memoir and literary journalism). Her J-Term class, deemed “The Fab Five”, didn’t write your usual run-of-the-mill essays; instead, they wrote about their own experiences, and became comfortable enough to share them with one another. After learning how to share their own stories, the Fab Five went out into the community to teach sixth graders how to do the same.

Dr. Erik Brekke’s course, Physics in the Arts, illustrated the physics of light, colors, and sound waves. After applying this knowledge to photography, visual art, and music, Dr. Brekke’s class went to several elementary school classrooms to teach them in an engaging approach to the sciences.

While J-Term has passed, there are opportunities to sign up for community engagement courses in upcoming semesters. Here are 4 perks of Academic Service-Learning as experienced by our two J-Term classes.

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International Poverty­ Trip: St. Lucia

by Carissa Trepanier

Through the Good News Project Inc. and the St. Norbert College TRIPS Program, I have been in St. Lucia for almost two weeks now on a service trip.  As I write this blog just two nights before departure on a weak signal of wifi, I can’t help but want to share every experience with you.  I promise you this blog won’t be a description of my every move but instead will be about what I’ve strived for on this trip and what I am determined to implement into my life back in Wisconsin.


The people of St. Lucia get it.  Time is valuable and they demonstrate a simple but hardworking lifestyle.

We saw extreme poverty and yet the people living in these horrible conditions seemed to have the greatest PATIENCE, JOY, and FAITH. A fellow student at St. Norbert, Alex Velicer, summed it up nicely saying, “Poverty is struggling to survive NOT struggling to live.”

We live in a world full of busy and distracted people, wouldn’t you agree?

Sometimes busyness feels like a blessing! There are long days at work that we can’t wait to have fly by, we love social media and staying connected with friends, and we feel purpose when we exercise our talents.

On the other hand, and arguably way too often, busyness isn’t so fulfilling.  Busyness can leave us lying in bed over thinking things we could have done differently or hoping and praying tomorrow will go as planned, when really so much is out of our control.

Time is valuable.  Time is not guaranteed. Yet we spend most of our time neglecting to reflect; suggesting instead of resting.

God’s word is a great place to find truth about time and balance.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Think about it from a different perspective…

24 hours in a day

1,440 minutes in a day

86,400 seconds in a day

10,080 minutes in a week

Where’s your sense of simplicity in it all?  You know the part where you get a breather and count your blessings?  Funny how we yearn for simplicity but quicker than we realize add another task to our to-do list.

I’ve put together two tips that have and will continue to propel me forward in my difficult but rewarding journey of gradual simplicity.


Take time for yourself. Read for 20 minutes or do a craft/hobby for a half hour. Literally it can be as simple as being in a place you normally don’t spend your time in and just sit. Easier said than done right? Wrong.  Well, technically true but really it just takes a strong person to put themselves and their joy first.  I truly believe in you. It really isn’t selfish when you think about it.  Yes, it may mean giving up time with or for other people for whatever length you need, but I’m quite positive that time you do spend with family or friends will be so much more REWARDING, POSITIVE, and MEANINGFUL.


Do these words make you feel overwhelmed? They do for me. I don’t “have time” to volunteer hours of my time every week and I’m sure you don’t either.  So I don’t. Instead, my advice would be to live your everyday life doing simple tasks with GREAT love.  Now that’s giving.  Give an extra smile to the person you don’t know, care more than half-asking the known all too well greeting “how ya doin?” and not listening to the response, or write a note to someone or compliment them on their positive traits/characteristics.

It’s true.  “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the WAY YOU MADE THEM FEEL.” –Maya Angelou

Girls Night Out: 9 years later! A YMCA Spotlight

Written by Jaime Notzen

roblesRuby Robles, a junior at St. Norbert College, had a chance to relive her elementary school years through the Michels Hall Program.

After learning how to make healthy lifestyle choices at Girls Night Out 9 years ago, Ruby became a GNO mentor as a sophomore in college.

Her story exemplifies how service comes full circle; it’s a chain reaction!

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5 Dance Marathon Moments that Captured Our Hearts

Written by Jaime Notzen

Throughout the third annual St. Norbert College Dance Marathon, we danced, and we cried, and we laughed, and had a really, really, really good time. 

On Saturday, October 24th, over 200 dancers stood for 13.1 hours straight For The Kids. No sitting, no kneeling, no caffeine; only dancing, reflecting, and celebrating. Participants raised thousands of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Dance Marathon prepared year-round to make those meaningful 13.1 hours a reality. But before they jump back into planning mode for next year, we want to make sure the organization and the community can reflect on the impact of this incredible event. Here are 5 Dance Marathon moments that captured our hearts.  Continue reading

The SJF 2015: Your Gateway to Making a Difference

Is there an injustice in the world that ignites your desire to make a difference?

Is there something you really want to see changed in our society?

Social justice is defined as promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity. St. Norbert College students do this everyday through various organizations on campus.

On Tuesday, October 6th (tomorrow!), the Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice, & Public Understanding is holding their second annual Social Justice Fair. You’ll be able to take look at what areas of social justice exist outside of one-time service; It’s an opportunity to find how to turn your talents, passion, and experience into action. Continue reading

6 reasons applying for TRIPS will enrich your life

As a St. Norbert College student, you have the opportunity to apply for TRIPS: an alternative break program that seeks to serve the needs of communities across the country and the globe. The experiences of past participants demonstrate how TRIPS can be life-changing for you!

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Rhythm & Wishes: Wishmakers on Campus

Looking for something different to do this Friday night? Stop by Michels Ballroom at 7:00pm and check out Rhythm & Wishes for a night packed full of music and fun! The event will be hosted by one of St. Norbert College’s newest student organizations, Wishmakers on Campus, and will include a cash bar, music from SNC students and alumni, a program featuring local Wish Kids, and exciting raffle prizes. Admission is $10 and all proceeds will go to help grant Katie’s wish to go to the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas. Katie is a five year old girl from Green Bay who suffers from rhabdomyosarcoma, a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in muscle tissue.

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