PULLMAN, Wash. — Serve the community and learn about yourself. That’s the recommendation to new Washington State University students from the student staff of the WSU Community Service Learning Center.

Learning “isn’t just about sitting in class and repeating what it said in the books. It’s also about asking yourself what you care about and who you are. It’s about real life experiences with people you never imagined meeting, discovering talents you never knew you had,” said Jesse Bedirian, a CSLC graduate assistant and a student in counseling psychology.

The student staff of the center encourages all students to get connected to the Pullman/Moscow community by participating in service learning activities. A wide range of service projects are available and include exchanging letters with a first grade pen pal, playing cards with senior citizens, providing safe transportation for women at night, planting trees to protect the environment, mentoring at the local teen center, or walking a dog that is waiting to be adopted.

CSLC student staff are committed to working with students to find the right service opportunity. For example, said Heidi Iyall, a center program assistant majoring in exercise science, “A couple of years ago, we helped a student coordinate swing dance lessons for local senior citizens.”

Through the CSLC, education students serve as a classroom tutors, psychology students work as crisis line advocates, and nutrition majors prepare meals for seniors. Service projects help students reaffirm or reevaluate educational and career goals. Reflecting on service experiences also helps clarify concepts discussed in class.

“By working with the elderly, I could observe the things we discuss in my kinesiology classes about aging and motor development,” revealed one student responding to a service learning evaluation.

“Today’s students are tomorrow’s professionals who will contribute to resolving their community issues. Their participation in service learning activities while at WSU will connect them with local community to gain practical experience in problem solving,” said Theo Mbabaliye, a center graduate assistant and doctoral student in natural resource sciences.

The Community Service Learning Center links individuals and groups of students to service opportunities, said Michele Primavera, a CSLC graduate assistant and counseling psychology doctoral student. Students can participate in one-day or semester-long projects.

Visit the CSLC in the Compton Union Building, Room 322, or telephone 509/335-7708, or visit the Web site at http://cub.wsu.edu/cslc.