Service Learning, Human Rights and Sustainable Development

Curriculum Overview

In the Service Learning, Human Rights and Sustainable Development program students will meaningfully engage in direct and indirect community service in Athens and the Greek provinces to cultivate servant leadership, organizational, research, documentation and critical reflection skills within the classroom and in the field.

This PLA module creates a framework within which students can be introduced to, and deepen their understanding of, universal human rights and sustainable development goals, as the moral compass which guides future leaders and internationally-minded citizens in assuming responsibility roles and taking action to deliver upon them.

Students explore personal interests, skills, talents and opportunities for development and growth through service and how these correspond to service-learning goals and community needs. They will contribute to goal-setting and preparation of service-learning experiences in Athens and the Greek provinces; engage in investigation, planning and preparation prior to taking action, and in reflection and demonstration following action. Finally, they will exercise leadership, advocacy and teamwork daily.

Students explore human rights issues, with a focus on UN Sustainable Development Goals, and are guided to conduct research, self-reflect on biases, investigate and assess needs, and strategically plan responsible action towards addressing identified needs. Reflection on students’ real-time experiences of face-to-face interaction with those at the receiving end of their service, allows for deconstructing stereotypes towards building stronger, inclusive and diverse communities.

Specifically, through collaborative research and group reflection, the PLA Service Learning Road-Trip in the Greek provinces during the program’s second week involves the following: interaction with various-stakeholders and subject-matter experts, development of surveys and interview guides, fund- and awareness-raising on campus and beyond, field-work, reflection and documentation throughout the service-learning process, perspectives on need, vulnerability, empowerment, privilege, meaningful engagement, as well as responsible action and citizenship.

Focus areas of the experiential components of this module are Children’s Rights, Refugee Youth Voices, Health Education and Awareness, Emergency Response and Readiness, Sustainability and the Environment, Homelessness and Poverty, Building Inclusive Communities, Disabilities, Countering Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, Social Impact and Change. Intellectual stimuli for enhancing students’ knowledge and understanding of those issues will be sought in human rights law, political and social sciences, cultural studies and literature.

The Service Learning, Human Rights and Sustainable Development module instills in students a sense of commitment to a life of service as conscious servant leaders, field-workers, global citizens and human rights and sustainable development advocates.