With the EL2 Symposium only a week away, the ExCEL Fellows are in the midst of planning the first EL week, a celebration of experiential and community engaged learning at Brandeis.
The ExCEL (Experiential & Community Engaged Learning) Fellows program was introduced to Brandeis in Fall 2010, hoping to train a smaller group of students who had shown interest in EL or CEL classes, who could share their knowledge with others unfamiliar with this type of learning. For the spring semester, the Fellows have created the EL week from March 21 to 24 to establish the prominence of a program that is only growing and improving over time. The theme of the week is “I heart EL because…”. Students around campus will be updating their Facebook status to share this message with the greater Brandeis community. By hosting events such as an ice cream social for students taking EL or CEL classes, and a coffee house featuring spoken word, improv, and accapella performances, the ExCEL Fellows hope to generate excitement around the third annual EL2 symposium on Thursday, March 24. Look out for students wearing I heart EL shirts and buttons and ask for more information!
With a total of over 80 applications and presentations from students, the level of creativity and higher-level learning pursued by Brandeis students is beyond words. Applications for the symposium range in subject from, The Effectiveness of Rehabilitation and Reintegration for Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Nepal presented by Rachel Klein ’12 to How the Relational Models Theory Explains Giving in the Dictator Game as studied by Siddhi Krishna ’12. Presentations are diverse in subject, including academic, social service, creative arts, and research-based endeavors experienced by students through a wide range of opportunities both at Brandeis and beyond.
Phillips Loh, a Brandeis senior, is presenting on his experience with an NGO partnered with the Ministry of Health in Jakarta, Indonesia. Loh expressed his hope that “my poster displays some of the beauty and diversity of Indonesia, but also some of the problems the country still faces. Through my poster, I invite the Brandeis community to learn more about Indonesia and to apply for the various IIE scholarships in Indonesia, such as FINIP or the Fulbright.” The beauty of the Symposium is that presenters educate others about their own personal experiences and invite students to take part in similar opportunities, whether through studying abroad, applying for a JBS semester, obtaining scholarship funding, or inquiring about research with faculty.
The passion students have in their field of work is clearly evident. Valerie Marchenko ‘13 wants to share this passion with attendees, hoping “that other people appreciate and perhaps develop some interest in th[e] fascinating field [of Astrophysics].” Other presenters hope to garner an increased awarness about a societal issue, to allow for greater positive action and change to be taken. This is the case for JBS Environmetal Health & Justice participants Phillip Lu ’11 and Tyler Belanga ’12, who studied the presence of lead-contaminated soil in Worcester. “If this lingering issue is going to be effectively dealt with, there must be a greater awareness on the part of the population as a whole, that there is a problem that is not being properly dealt with.”
The Symposim is sure to be an amazing afternoon from 12-6 of presentations, community-wide learning, and story telling. The ExCEL Fellows welcome all students to participate in EL week, expressing why they too heart EL.