Queensborough Community College: Student Learning and Remembrance
Queensborough Community College an open access college of the City University of New York located in Eastern Queens with an enrollment of 15,000 students a year will commemorate the anniversary of September 11, 2001 through its Office of Service Learning, which has at the core of its mission, civic engagement, volunteerism and the process of reflection to further student learning.
Members of the Queensborough community can gaze at the Manhattan skyline from the buildings and lawns from its campus. Many faculty, staff and students lost loved ones ten years ago, and many of its incoming freshmen this year were 8 or 9 year old children at the time of the attack. With the start of the Fall 2011 semester, the Office of Service Learning (OSL) will sponsor a 9/11 Call to Action Campaign which will begin with sponsoring a 9/11 Memorial Website. This website will allow members of the entire community to place its reflections and memories on its wall. The site will serve as a virtual and dynamic tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11, many of whom were and are members, friends and family of the college.
The website will also promote Days of Service for each of the ten days leading up to 9/11. The students in each of the college’s academies will take ownership for Days of
Service that will range from blood drives to food collections to forums on tolerance which will be planned collaboratively with the college’s Kupferberg Holocaust Center. On September 11, the students will be charged with going into their local communities and expanding their campus commitments to their neighborhoods. For example, students in the Health Academy who participated in organizing the campus blood drive will be charged with organizing blood drives in their local neighborhoods. The Business students will be charged with organizing food drives in their local areas and delivering collected items to food banks in their neighborhoods. On September 12, the students will gather in QCC’s Quad, and they will report their accomplishments to the community at a 9/11 Day of Remembrance.
QCC will sponsor a yearlong CUNY-wide Service Learning Call to Action. It will invite five of its fellow City University of New York campuses to send 6 representatives to QCC for an initial planning meeting on August 26, 2011. This 30-member cohort will immerse themselves in a spirit of collaboration and will develop a joint project that will be embraced by students at each of their respective campuses. Students will participate in their service acts on September 11 and will gather on September 12, 2011, to report their accomplishments at a public memorial on each of their campuses.
After the 9/11 Day of Remembrance, this 30-member cohort will continue to meet at QCC once a month for the next three months to discuss projects that will increase civic engagement among students at their local campuses. The 3-session seminar will include professional development workshops that will address the need of maintaining reciprocity when working with community partners as well as the need for developing and leading rich reflective activities that promote understanding and transference of knowledge from theory to practice. These sessions will focus on empowering students to be agents of change and to encourage students to be service minded citizens who improve the quality of life for themselves and their local communities.
QCC’s Office of Service Learning is well positioned in offering these workshops as it has developed a faculty and staff professional development infrastructure as well as developed a website rich with resources and links that promote service activities.
Currently, over 1000 students participate in Service Learning Projects and an additional 1000 students participate in service activities every year at Queensborough Community College. With a directed year in which the entire City University of New York is invited to participate, the event could then provide an additional 2000 students, participating not only as volunteers, but as learners who will come away with a deeper and more profound engagement to their studies as well as to the world around them. If each of the 5 participating campuses involve 1000 students at each of their campuses, that will increase the number of student participants to 7000 for the year.