My Service Learning Experience

For my freshman year of college I have decided to pursue the service learning experience. My reasoning behind it is pretty simple, It goes toward my grade in my CLA 1005 class, I want to be a Political Science major and being active and involved in the community is a good starting place, and the group I’ve decided to join, MPIRG or Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, seems like it’s working for much of the beliefs that I share. Lastly they are a group that I can join confident in the knowledge that my busy schedule and biased motives wont hinder the work they are doing or hurt anyone in the community in the process as exampled in this weeks reading Why Service Learning is Bad by Jon Eby. Minnesota Public Interest Group is a a grassroots organization that stands for equality, democracy, and the environment. They are a bipartisan interest group who’s main goal for this fall is to get college students out there and ready to vote in the upcoming election, it doesn’t matter who they are voting for so long as they vote. After the election they will shift their focus back to more environmental issues. The best way, I have decided, to gather information about MPIRG is to become a part of their program. I will attend the meetings, participate in the rallies with them, push for people to get out there and vote, and whatever else may come up. I am especially excited for Voterpalooza coming up. One of my initial research questions have more personal motives,what strengths of my own do I have that I can utilize to help their mission? Another question I hope to answer by the end of the year is how much of an affect does the program actually have on the community around us? Do their walk outs make a difference in peoples pay? Will the students follow through with their promises to vote?

I was placed with the student run grassroots organization MPIRG. Their Facebook page states that their mission is;

“ The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) is a grassroots, non-partisan, nonprofit, student-directed organization that empowers and trains students and engages the community to take collective action in the public interest throughout the state of Minnesota.”

Our supervisor is Mahyar Sorour, she is actually an a alumni of the U of M. I didn’t have much of an orientation, I just had a one on one meeting with Mahyar talking about my interests and what I feel passionate about. My role as a volunteer with MPIRG is whatever needs to be done. Recently we’ve been pushing people to register to vote and we also log in hours by data logging and calling people. We also assist other groups at protests. My first day was at the Community Engagement Fair. We sat at a booth and got people registered to vote and gave them more info on MPIRG. Everything is rewarding in my opinion, I’m surrounded by people with the same interests as myself and I get to inform people about things I’m passionate about. The only hard thing about being a part of an organization is making room in my schedule for it because most of their meetings overlap with my classes. Most of my questions from the first post can be answered by continuing being a part of MPIRG and seeing what kind of effect they have on the community. Although I will be able to see how our efforts played out after November 8th when they announce the turn out for for the election.

i. What aspects of your identity are most important or meaningful for you?

The most important or meaningful aspect of myself if probably that I am a female. That is because I am fortunate enough to be on the privileged or passing side of the other parts of my identity.

ii. How do your identities influence and shape the others?

I know my identity influences how others perceive me right away. And I hope I can use my identity as a women and make it a powerful thing, I hope I can be a good example someday for young girls.

iii. How have your identities shaped your experiences of advantage, power, privilege, oppression, discrimination,?

Because I am a women I can see where discrimination is happening on the gender front because it directly affects me. It isn’t only until recently that I’ve been thinking about the discrimination in other factors besides gender and race and sexuality.

iv. How do you believe your multiple identities will impact your college experience?

I believe that me being white is an advantage in the fact that majority of my peers look like and speak like myself. Being a women means I sometimes have to work harder for respect. And my upper middle class background will affect the way I look at paying for college.

a. Filling out the identity flower wasn’t really difficult for me because I was born into so much privilege. The hardest part was looking at other peoples and seeing that they didn’t grow up with the same advantages I did it struck me how unfair it is.

b. Where we are from and what we identify as influences who we are and how others perceive us. It changes our view of the world and how the world interacts with us. The value of knowing and reflecting on where you are from and how you identify impacts your service learning experience by knowing what you can do to help those around you and where you fit in. If you know how you fit in with the dynamic of the situation you are less likely to offend and more likely to be able to help. Your identity matters you don’t want to come off as some benevolent prick who thinks they need to fix something that isn’t broken to begin with. As our CLA class continues I continue to realizes that it is in a large part my privilege that got me to where I am today.

c. Completing this exercise helped me understand where I stand in society and who I am as a person and if the digital story is about my life then knowing who I am and why I am the way I am is a good place to start.

The main topic I plan on covering for my digital story is how MPIRG prepared and participated in the upcoming election. I will also cover what MPIRG is, what they stand for, and how they usually function but because I joined during election season that is the experience I have with them as a group.

Because I am a part of the Core group in MPIRG am going to interview the leader of MPIRG Mahyar and also the leaders in the Core group.

MPIRGorg. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

This source can give background info about the organization itself. It is the home page.

“MPIRG — Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.” N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

This is a PDF on all the service fees and again more information about the Twin Cities branch of MPIRG. It also covers its relationship with the city and the surrounding area.

Birkey, Andy. “MPIRG Backs Ban on Ex-gay Therapy for Minors.” The Column. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

An article about MPIRG fought for a ban on conversion therapy. They are part of a group called Can’t Convert Love MN.

“Survey Reiterates Student Stress.” — The Minnesota Daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2016.

An article about MPIRG doing a study on student stress. They did so to help lobby for for college affordability at the state Legislature.

My video Rough Draft:

My Final Project:

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