Some 450 North­eastern stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in more than two dozen service-​​learning courses in the spring semester, teaming up with campus and community-​​based part­ners to com­plete 16,890 hours of service.

These part­ner­ships were show­cased at the second annual Service-​​Learning EXPO: EXPOse Your Mind to Service-​​Learning. The event, which took place last week in the Fenway Center, allowed stu­dents to edu­cate and explain their projects to the North­eastern community.

The EXPO serves as a forum for show­casing the good work done by our stu­dents throughout the semester,” said Becca Berkey, asso­ciate director and service-​​learning coor­di­nator in the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice. “We also encourage com­mu­nity mem­bers to use the EXPO as an oppor­tu­nity to net­work, catch up, and brain­storm about future pos­si­bil­i­ties for collaboration.”

Mary Elliott, a first-​​year stu­dent with a dual major in lin­guis­tics and cul­tural anthro­pology, tutored chil­dren at El Centro del Car­denal, a Dorchester-​​based pro­gram that helps out-​​of-​​school and high-​​risk youth earn their GED cer­tifi­cate. Elliott and four other North­eastern stu­dents vis­ited El Centro del Car­denal on a weekly basis, assisting Spanish-​​speaking stu­dents who needed extra help. This oppor­tu­nity orig­i­nated in “Advanced Spanish 2,” a course that shows stu­dents how to master grammar and con­ver­sa­tion through engage­ment with the local community.

I wanted the oppor­tu­nity to speak and prac­tice my con­ver­sa­tional Spanish out­side of the class­room,” said Elliott. “I’d been a tutor in the past, so this expe­ri­ence really appealed to me on a number of levels.”

Service-​​learning courses also allow stu­dents to interact with the com­mu­nity on sub­jects out­side of the class­room, including tech­niques in bystander inter­ven­tion. This past semester, the human ser­vices depart­ment offered a spe­cial topics course called “Men­tors in Vio­lence Pre­ven­tion: A Bystander Approach to Ending Gender-​​Based Vio­lence.” The course sent stu­dents such as senior human ser­vice major Eileen Rice into the com­mu­nity to edu­cate and empower bystanders to take affir­ma­tive action when they see vio­lence in a public arena.

Rice’s service-​​learning place­ment brought her to Mujeres Unidas Avan­zando in Dorch­ester, an orga­ni­za­tion pro­vides free social ser­vices and edu­ca­tional pro­grams to low-​​income Latina women. At MUA, Rice met weekly with a group of 20– to 35-​​year-​​old women to dis­cuss cul­tural stereo­types and teach them how to be active bystanders in the face of gender-​​based abuse and violence.

It’s really impor­tant that everyone knows they don’t have to be pas­sive bystanders,” said Rice. “That’s why I decided to take the class, and why I think people from all cul­tural back­grounds need to become aware of the options avail­able to them.”