Krista DeJulio – Features Editor
Nadinne Cruz, Ph.D, recently spoke at Lasell as part of the Distinguished Donahue Scholar series. Cruz has been an advocate for service learning in higher education since she was in college and has volunteered in her native Philippines and in the United States. Cruz shared personal stories from her service learning trips and from motherhood.
Cruz spoke of her time working in the Philippines and how she wanted to make an impact while she was still young. However, Cruz is a self-proclaimed critic of service.
Cruz said she wants to reframe service learning and to use academic knowledge of the privileged to do so. The problem with service-learning is that the students are not learning enough. Cruz argued students can go into these countries and make an impact but they will never learn what the citizens’ lives are truly about. Cruz is striving to connect higher education “with a world that [she] want[s] to create.” Cruz also stated that service learning should be renamed “engaged education” because the goal of any service learning trip is to become more educated.
By recreating service-learning, Cruz hopes to create a “wholeness of human community” by making international connections. Cruz said she felt injustice towards the communities that are not given the same opportunities as others and said she feels “anger [and] fury about what it should not be.”
At the end of her discussion, Cruz asked how service learning can be done better. Cruz believes service learning is important and necessary because it is a method of teaching and learning. However, it has to be done in a more resourceful way for the students.
Before leaving, Cruz gave a word of wisdom. “You’re going to make those mistakes, make yourself look like a fool that you’re going to remember for the rest of your life,” said Cruz.