May 5, 2016, Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Speech Communication students at the West Campus have taken their interpersonal team-building skills outside of the classroom as part of a variety of community service projects.
Instructor Meredith Frank began the community service projects in her Speech Communication 110 sections in the spring semester to meet the new civic engagement component of the course. Each class was broken into teams and tasked with creating a proposal for a community service project, outlining the specifics and how their team would work together to complete it.
“They started [by] figuring out how to solve a problem,” Frank said. “Then they gave a speech to persuade. Then they do the service, and then present it again.”
Some speeches were so persuasive – particularly a team leading an MCCC campus beautification project - that other students donated their time or money to help.
Devising a community service project that students are “passionate” about is key.
“Pick something that you’re really passionate about,” Frank said. “From there, find that passion and find an organization that’s either at Montco or close to it.”
Tayla Haulcy-Clark said her group focused on the environment and planted flowers around South Hall at MCCC’s West Campus. Her group also added more colorful flowers to a 9/11 memorial and spruced up plantings in a flowerbed honoring biology professor Marie Richard-Yates, who died in 2009.
“We were trying to figure out – how can we get our hands dirty and really be involved?”
Haulcy-Clark, a MCCC sophomore studying communication, said the assignment allowed her to get to know her peers better.
“It gave our whole entire class a sense of community within the class,” she said. “It kind of made us more of a family. It’s a great idea to take ourselves out of ourselves and view things differently.”
Team leader Taylor DiLanzo and her group took on a candy-selling fundraiser to benefit the Cancer Center at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. The group set up a table outside of the West End Café in South Hall, as well as at Earth Day and Spring Fling activities, raising more than $500.
While candy is admittedly “easy to sell,” said DiLanzo, a general studies student and aspiring nurse, it can be difficult to get the attention of would-be buyers.
“You have to get creative,” she said, adding that the team played music the first day and used colorful bins during other sales. “It kind of draws people’s attention.”
DiLanzo said the project has taught her how to work with different types of people. And, most importantly, “if you want to be successful, you have to put yourself out there.”
- Theresa Katalinas
Speech Communication Instructor Meredith Frank (second from left) supports students (from left) Taylor Dilanzo, Amanda Boyer and Lexus Andrews during their fundraising project. Photo by Alana J. Mauger