Students could earn college credit and have the opportunity to serve the community in a new class offered in spring quarter.
English professor Beth Stevens, who is involved in community service, especially focuses on the food banks.
All her English 101 classes revolve around food in literature. In these classes, students study the food system in the United States, how it’s expanding and its effects on the economy and politics.
English 101, however, is limited in how far these studies can go. Although students learn about America’s food industry, physical application outside the classroom is missing.
“I realized we need to be out interacting and helping others,” Stevens said. “It’s important to try to give back and do something that is selfless that we can also learn from.”
Stevens will teach the two-credit class this spring that will do just that. The class, Cooperative Education, is structured to meet two days a week, with much of the focus on volunteer work outside the walls of the classroom.
Mandatory volunteer hours at the Puyallup Food Bank are a vital part of the class. Scheduled class time will be dedicated to brief readings, films and reflective pieces. This class has no pre-requisites but is complimentary to Stevens’ English 101 course. It’s also a good elective for students searching for a less demanding course than a five-credit class.
“It’s a great chance to build on knowledge or for those who would like a chance to get an initial glance into those conversations,” she said.
Stevens stressed that the importance of the food bank often is overlooked.
Although many people use its services, it’s not broadcasted to others. She found it interesting that the United States, despite being a leading country globally, still struggles with hunger.
“The question is: Why do we need a food bank in the wealthiest nation in the world? Washington’s minimum wage is the highest in the nation, but still there are many people here who depend on the food bank,” she said. “Often we get caught up in worries that are not about fundamental needs. We need to be aware that sometimes others can’t get basic needs.”
Until this class begins, Stevens is working at the Puyallup Food Bank with volunteer Pierce students, including groups such as Phi Theta Kappa, peer mentors, conversation partners and the writing consultants.
On Feb. 23, she and a group of volunteers from Pierce College Puyallup worked outside a nearby Fred Meyer in downtown Puyallup to gather support and food for the Puyallup Food Bank.
“You need to do something to make the world better,” Stevens said. “That is what motivates me.”
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