Traditions and Transitions (T & T) is a required introductory class at Newman University that helps incoming students transition into college life. As part of the class, students partake in a large service project in order to help them understand the importance of community service.
Last year, the Dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies David Shubert, Ph.D. taught a T & T class that came up with the idea of putting together care packages for the Guadalupe Clinic, which is a part of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. This year, Shubert’s class continued the tradition.
According to the Guadalupe Clinic website: “The mission of Guadalupe Clinic is to provide access to necessary health care for those in need, work for social justice in health care, and call upon the entire Church and other people of goodwill to join in these efforts.”
Providing basic supplies to the clinic was an eye-opening experience to many of the students. Gabrielle Shideler said, “I didn’t understand the necessity of someone needing a band-aid. As college students, we have the opportunity to access the things we need, and we don’t think about the things we have. It was an eye opener to see the little things we do mean so much.”
Shantel Schmidt, who also volunteers at the clinic, expressed a similar sentiment. “I think all of us realized we have things we take for granted, like even a pair of socks. Instead of being grateful, we think how lucky we are to have the latest iPhone or an awesome car. So we realized we shouldn’t take what we have for granted.”
Another important function of the service project was to promote teamwork and camaraderie. “We developed an assembly line to work together instead of working separately,” said Daniel Steigerwald.
The class made sure to include socks, hats, and other items that would keep the receivers warm. Elizabeth Lazar said, “It was a project that had meaning; it was helping somebody.”
One of the T & T student helpers, Lexy Cochran, noted the impact the care packages had on the staff of the clinic, who were overwhelmed with gratitude, which in turn made the students feel good.
The students also had the opportunity to talk with those without a home and to hear their stories. This experience further strengthened for students the importance of helping the community and especially those in need. Shubert told his class, “If you’re going to make the world a better place, it’s not the huge nationwide efforts that add up. It’s the little things that each of us do every day.”
Along with helping the community and supporting a Catholic clinic, everyone had fun. “It was one of the most fun parts of the class,” said Shideler.
Steigerwald reiterated the feelings of his classmates that “if more classes did [this service project] then we could make a bigger impact in the community.”
Shubert plans to continue this tradition of making care packages for the clinic with next year’s group of T & T students.