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There's More to "The College Experience" than College

July 24, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa - It's called "The College Experience" - a course for incoming Des Moines Area Community College students that orients them to their new life at the school as well as the need for community service work.

This year, said instructor Nicole Hardin, her students decided to pay tribute to the 19 firefighters who died last month during the wildfires in Arizona by planting a flower garden at a local fire station. She said the aim is to make people better citizens as well as better students.

"How this class can make you more well-rounded is the fact that we talk about diversity. We talk about learning styles," she said. "We talk about service projects, and getting into the community and volunteering your time."

Organizations in the community also can suggest service projects, she said, and then it's up to the class to decide which ones to do.

"We would love to hear the community come in and say, 'Hey, help us out with this project.' I think as an instructor, I would love that," she said, "so I can bring something to my class and say, 'Look, this organization wants our help. Do you guys want to volunteer your time there?' "

Hardin said each class comes up with a project. Some have organized winter coat drives while others have had food drives for local charities.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA