Service Learning Essay

7-8 pages, Times New Roman, 12 font, double-spaced, 25% of grade, due Dec. 3rd

I am offering feedback before the final due date but I’ll need to see a good draft by November 19th.

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In this essay you will reflect on your service-learning experience in relation to structural oppression and COVID-19. This paper should focus on one structural inequity, how it made members of the community you have served in vulnerable to COVID-19. You will use aspects of an ethics from the margins to analyze the issue and make a values argument in relation to social change and justice. Pay particular attention to listening to the voices that are not often heard in the community, doing intersectional analysis (especially race, class, and/or gender analysis), identifying the structural obstacles people face as well as their resiliancy in addressing these obstacles, and developing a values argument for why we should organize for social justice in relation to the issue you have identified (possible values to develop – justice, equity, solidarity, sustainability, etc.). You must include information from your service AND reference some of the theoretical material from the course.

It is probably smart to do focus your service-learning essay on the same aspect of COVID-19 that you did research on for your group project/presentation. A description that includes your thesis and an outline of your paper is due on October 22nd.

Criteria for grading Service-Learning Essay:

Paper should be presented in an orderly, clear, well-developed fashion, and should contain an easily identifiable thesis and conclusion
Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure
Creative and engaging
Understandable for an unfamiliar reader
Topic narrow enough for sufficient depth
Adequate use of readings from class
In depth connection of philosophical ideas with examples from your service
Accurate citation of sources (you may use any citation system as long as it is used accurately)

Here is the way you might structure your paper. I’ve also included the service-learning essay rubric below that.

1. Introductory paragraph

Explain your thesis and what you are going to cover in the paper – identify what structural oppression you will examine, your service context in the Canal community, that you will cover the ways that COVID-19 made this oppression more visible, and finally what values you will develop in thinking about how we might address this structural oppression.

2. Intersectional analysis of structural oppression

Analysis of the structural oppression you are focusing on in the context of the Canal community. Use what you’ve learned from your service and your research of the Canal neighborhood to support your analysis. Share their stories/voices. Identify the structural obstacles people face as well as their resiliency in addressing these obstacles. Draw on the readings from the course in explaining this particular structural oppression, especially the intersections of race, class and gender.

3. Intersectional analysis of COVID-19 in relation to your focus on a particular structural oppression.

Analysis of the ways this community has been affected by COVID-19 in light of their vulnerabilities from the form of structural oppression you identified. Give examples from your service and draw on research about the effects of COVID-19 in relation to the inequity you’ve identified.

4. Development of values argument in relation to structural oppression.

What is your vision for how things could be different? What are next steps in light of this structural oppression? What is our moral responsibility for addressing this inequity and what values should guide us? Define and develop how a particular value or values guides next steps. You do not need a detailed blueprint for solving the structural oppression you identified as there is not space for that but you do want to help readers see why it is a moral imperative to address the oppression and inequity you’ve identified. Draw on the theoretical material covered in class in light of the marginalized community you have worked with.

5. Concluding paragraph

Briefly sum up what you’ve written in the paper and then identity what you’ve learned about marginalized communities from your service and this research. Articulate how this changes your understanding of social responsibility and your role in community engagement (be sincere – don’t just say things you don’t mean).

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