Service-Learning POM Helps Student Find Ideal Service Match

During the summer of 2014, St. Louis native Jessica Albright took up an interest in healthier eating and various organic options for such a lifestyle. She was tired of partaking of processed foods that didn’t benefit her body.

When Albright, a junior Business Administration major, was required to choose a service-learning site through her placement orientation meeting, she knew that the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture was the place for her.

“I chose CCUA because I was looking for something I would get enjoyment out of,” Albright says. “Through my placement orientation meeting, I was able to discover what they do and realized it was a place I could learn and benefit from.”

Albright now serves as CCUA’s volunteer coordinator assistant. She has a variety of duties, such as office tasks, filing paperwork, helping plan and work events, aiding with gardening, and assisting in educating volunteers about CCUA’s mission. Albright’s duties also provide her with experience that corresponds with her intended major.

“It’s been so great working both my personal and career interests into my service site,” Albright says. “I’ve learned a lot.”

Although Albright’s service at CCUA began due to a course requirement, she acknowledges that it has become much more than that.

“I never thought that I would get this much out of it,” Albright says. “My advice to others is to go in with an open mind. You never know whom you may meet or what you may learn in the process. As students, we are so lucky to be provided with opportunities to benefit the Columbia community, so the least we can do is say, ‘I didn’t just do service-learning, I got something out of it and grew as a person because of it.’”

Heather Gillich, education and volunteer coordinator at CCUA, couldn’t be happier with Albright’s progress.

“Jessica has always shown up ready to work and has helped us in a variety of ways,” Gillich says. “She has communicated her expectations and skills well.”

To find out more about programs through the Office of Service-Learning, visit muserves.missouri.edu or facebook.com/muserves, or contact the service-learning staff to set up an appointment atservicelearning@missouri.edu or (573)882-0227.