50 middle school students visited campus to experience college life, tour academic buildings, and meet Lucas.
This day has been an inspiration for our aspiring teachers, illustrating the positive impact they can have on youngsters.
— Patricia Calderwood, PhD, professor emerita of Educational Studies and Teacher Preparation
Service learning is an important part of life at Fairfield. Many faculty members across disciplines incorporate service learning as part of their syllabi as a way to link academic study and community service. This form of service takes place in local communities surrounding the University, as well as on campus when community partners are invited to Fairfield.
Last week 50 students in seventh and eighth grade at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport visited campus to participate in fun activities and experience life on a college campus. The day was coordinated by undergraduate educational studies minors enrolled in “Introduction to Philosophy of Education,” taught by Patricia Calderwood, PhD, professor emerita of Educational Studies and Teacher Preparation, in collaboration with Maritza Ortega, CCSNE AmeriCorps VISTA and partnership coordinator for the Center for Faith and Public Life, and with assistance from additional educational studies minors who volunteered.
Graduate student Allie Coppola shared her favorite memory from the day, “I really enjoyed seeing the expressions on the students’ faces when they arrived at the library to see the room we set up for them to write their reflections. It was a bright room filled with books and pens and markers for them to write; it was a space just for them, and I think they really appreciated that.”
Before students ended the day with a visit from Lucas as they wrote their reflections, they participated in a variety of activities on campus including a visit to the nursing simulation lab, a scavenger hunt, a tour of the Athletics Center where they met the dance and basketball teams, lunch in the Tully Dining Room, and a tour of the dorm rooms.
“I am really proud of my undergraduate students for planning this wonderful day for the middle schoolers at Cesar Batalla,” said Dr. Calderwood. “They worked with partners across campus to get support and coordinated with Admissions, Athletics, Nursing, and the Writing Center. This day has been an inspiration for our aspiring teachers, illustrating the positive impact they can have on youngsters who might not have dared to envision themselves as potential college students. Our middle school visitors know that they are welcome members of the Fairfield community, and that we’d love to see them as Fairfield University students after they finish high school.
Cesar Batalla School teachers also accompanied their classes to join in on the fun. Emily Orr ’13, MA ’14, one of the eighth-grade teachers at Cesar Batalla, said, “It was really nice to see my students walking through campus and saying that Fairfield is where they want to be. Today has been a great experience for them to see a different side of life and to explore a college campus.