JSC group headed to Detroit in April

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JSC group headed to Detroit in April

The old Packard plant, soon to be demolished

The old Packard plant, soon to be demolished (geek.digest.com)

The old Packard plant, soon to be demolished (geek.digest.com)

The old Packard plant, soon to be demolished (geek.digest.com)

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From April 6 to April 11, 13 freshmen and two upperclassmen will be taking a service trip to Detroit along with Executive Director of Laraway School Greg Stefanski and Johnson State’s Learning Resource Center Coordinator Martha Lance.

The trip is in conjunction with this year’s common read “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff, and is being coordinated by the office of first-year experience.

The attending students will contribute their ideas on what projects they will be doing while in Detroit, schedule housing, and plan for the trip.

“One of our intentions in including a service component as part of this year’s [Common Reading Initiative] programming,” said First-Year Experience Program Assistant Jennifer Stefanski, “was to offer an opportunity for students to take action around issues they connected with in the book.  Therefore, a big part of this experience is participation in the planning stages, including project selection, host site and housing arrangements, fundraising, etc., all of which are yet to be determined.”

Lance was hoping that she could contribute a historical and cultural review of Detroit’s evolution along their journey.

“I love this kind of experiential learning and teaching,” she said. “We’ll be doing sort of field-work learning. It’s wonderful to read about a place, but then actually go see it in the flesh…I have a feeling that it’s going to be quite heartbreaking to see Detroit as it is, as opposed to our imaginings of it. Mentally I think there’s going to have to be some preparation.”

Both Lance and Greg Stefanski were chosen to be trip leaders for their connection with the CRI over the years. Lance has participated on the committee for the book selection the last couple years, and both have served annually as a book facilitator for ‘Going Beyond the Book’ during orientation.

Greg also has ties to Detroit as he is originally from there, and last year, in his role with Laraway Youth and Family Services, he took a trip to Detroit that connected him with organizations and individuals who work with the youth population in the area.

“All of these factors, as well as their combined passion for, and experience in, working with young adults made them ideal trip leaders,” said Jennifer.

Application review and interviews ended Friday, Oct. 5, and over the vacation that followed, trip participants were chosen. Jennifer is waiting to publicize who those students are, but she did say that they will be having their first group process meeting with Director of First-Year Experience Margo Warden over the weekend of Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 to hash out some of the details.

From then on, the group will meet weekly to discuss how they’d like to fundraise and which service projects they’d like to participate in once in Detroit. The hope is to raise the total cost of the trip so that students will have no out-of-pocket expenses.

Upon its return from Detroit, the group is also required to

give a presentation that will be part of the spring creative audience programming.

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