Editorial: TLOs set students apart in life, job market

Spinnaker

In any college, students can learn about their major from a textbook. What sets colleges apart from one another is the practical experience they provide.

Subsequently, this experience is also what sets students apart when they go to apply for a job.

And even more, this practical learning not only benefits the student and institution, but if done properly, can have large implications on the community.

This thinking is what led UNF to adopt Transformational Learning Opportunities – programs designed to offer students course credit from learning directly in the community.

These opportunities can come in many shapes, large and small, and can have many impacts on the community. One of the most significant – they tend to catch on.

As students see their peers lending a helping hand, they feel obligated to do the same.

The result: Students wind up spending time making the community a better place, not for course credit, just satisfaction of the deed.

This was the case with sophomore music major Jarrell Harris, who with the help of two other UNF students, spent the day teaching under-privileged Jacksonville children jazz music.

Harris’ actions were not to gain a course credit but simply to see a smile on the youngsters’ faces.

It’s acts like these that will inevitably set UNF apart from larger state universities across Florida. They will also help set Harris apart from other music students. And as more and more UNF students continue to show interest in these community projects, the opportunities continue to grow.

A similar learning activity can now be found at UNF in just about every major or concentration offered.

Many families are struggling to keep food on the table or receive basic medical attention, and under-privileged children are losing their aspirations to someday attend college.

That’s where UNF comes into place.

There’s no one better to help the under-privileged in Duval than young, smart and enthusiastic college students – the future of our country.

Acts like Harris’ gives kids hope. It tells them someone does care, and no matter the cards dealt, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams.

There are hundreds of community service programs through transformational learning, and not all focus around children or the needy. Yet all have a worthwhile cause while benefiting the UNF students as well – empowering their future.

Employers are becoming increasingly interested in these types of community service learning opportunities, as the best classrooms are not classrooms at all.

But don’t do it for the wrong reasons. These programs were put into place to help students grow to become better people and help their community grow to become a better place to live.