July 23, 2008
For the third consecutive year, new Rollins students started their civic education early by working with Fern Creek Elementary School. During Rollins Summer Orientation, student leaders, staff and members of the Class of 2012 provided a hand in helping Fern Creek teachers and volunteers prepare for the new school year.
"Working with Fern Creek is a great example of the applied liberal arts education that our students receive at Rollins," said Doug Little, director of Rollins Explorations. "We expect our students to be active participants both inside the classroom and in the local community. Working with Fern Creek at Summer Orientation sets this expectation and communicates our values right from the start."
During Summer Orientation, about 150 new Rollins students visited Fern Creek during four trips to help with everything from creating bulletin boards and library cards to painting furniture and organizing the media center. This year, students helped create "time machines," which are conflict resolution tools painted on school property. Fern Creek will use these colorful tools to model healthy conflict management skills with children.
Incoming Rollins students were asked to bring their favorite childhood storybook to donate to Fern Creek. Over the past three years, Rollins students have donated more than 500 books to the media center and classrooms.
"Each August our students and staff come back to Fern Creek looking for the many projects completed by Rollins over the summer," said Holly Vanture, community and mentor coordinator at Fern Creek Elementary School. "As soon as a student steps off the school bus they see that this caring group has once again helped to make their school a safe and welcoming place to learn."
Multiple Rollins faculty members partner with Fern Creek through academic service-learning courses and projects thought the school year. Students engage with the mentoring program, coordinate projects with the school, and participate in Family Nights. In addition, every child at Fern Creek will visit Rollins for Pathways to College Day.
"Rollins students, faculty and staff are on the Fern Creek campus every single day during the academic year," said Micki Meyer, director of the Office of Community Engagement. "Fern Creek is a tremendous community partner and we value their impact on the Rollins' educational experience."
Summer Orientation is part of Rollins Explorations, a program that allows freshmen to control their own destiny and make the most of their college experience. The goal of the multi-faceted program is to integrate students into a curriculum of courses and programs both inside and outside of the classroom that help them learn, make connections and have fun. Current Rollins students serve as peer mentors to help guide new students through the process of starting college.
Each summer, Rollins Explorations partners with Rollins' Office of Community Engagement to participate in the Fern Creek project.