Student Activism Class Has Global Impact

January 18, 2007

Kelsey Kimmel (Class of 2011) with students at El Colegio Nacional Miguel Angel Cazares
Rollins student (center) Kelsey Kimmel (Class of 2011) hangs out with students from the class she taught at El Colegio Nacional Miguel Angel Cazares in Santa Cruz, Galápagos.

In coordination with the nonprofit organization Galápagos ICE: Immerse, Connect, Evolve, 29 Rollins Arts & Sciences and Hamilton Holt School students enrolled in “Activism 101,” a field study service learning and leadership course, traveled to Santa Cruz, Galápagos in Ecuador, in mid-December. For five days they taught English language classes and computer skills to high school students at El Colegio Nacional Miguel Angel Cazares in Santa Cruz, Galápagos.

Many of the Rollins students focused their language lesson plans on conservation and sustainability of the rare ecosystem found in the Galápagos, thus reinforcing the islands’ established codes of eco-tourism to the very young people who will manage the islands in the future: the young Galápagaños students. Eager to learn their islands’ conservation rules in English, the high school students responded with overwhelming enthusiasm to the Rollins students and, by week’s end, the two student groups were immersed in an open exchange of both academic ideas and socio-cultural traditions such as song and dance.

In addition to teaching the eighth through 13th graders, the Rollins group donated more than one dozen personal computers, four laptops, three digital video cameras and a projector to the school.

The Rollins effort was led by Activism 101 instructor and field study leader Chief Information Officer Les Lloyd; Assistant Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies Denise Cummings; Director of First Year Programs Doug Little; and Troy Thomason, Carrie Schulz and Joe Hughes of Information Technology.

Heather Mahan (Class of 2008) works with a class in the Galapagos.
Hamilton Holt School student (right) Heather Mahan (Class of 2008) leads an ice-breaking exercise on the first days of classes in the Galapagos.

With assistance from several Rollins students and a number of willing Colegio students, the Rollins IT staff installed all of the computers—complete with software programs such as Photoshop—equipped the school with wireless Internet, rewired the school’s English Language Lab and left behind additional cabling and tools for sustainable network support. All of the students’ and instructors’ experiences were chronicled on digital video by Matthew F. Reyes, of Exploration Solutions, Inc., and Paul Gramaglia, of PG Film Entertainment.

The field study course, an extension of Lloyd’s Fall 2007 Rollins College Conference course, “Activism 101,” also achieved two important firsts: Rollins College is the first American college or university to visit El Colegio Nacional Miguel Angel Cazares and the first to work with Galápagos ICE with the specific goal of teaching the English language to Galápagaños secondary-schoolers.

By Assistant Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies Denise Cummings

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