Geographies of Equity

Community Conversation: Re-Unifying Learners with Marginalized Geographies: Equity-Centered Service-Learning

Jennifer R. Wies, Professor and Chair, Ball State University

Students from marginalized geographies are often pushed and/or pulled to higher education as a mechanism for escapism. However, this distancing from place, kin, and history challenges learners to make sense of their futures while honoring their pasts. In this conversation, we will discuss participants’ service-learning projects, the demographic makeup of the student participants, and how the service-learning process can act as a mechanism for re-unification with vulnerabilized spaces.  This equity-centered, service-learning process is particularly acute for those faculty and practitioners who work with place-bound students, as the re-unification process entails deep levels of self-reflection, awareness of political economic processes and power imbalances, and support and/or resources for continued immersion in marginalized geographies. The re-unification process, when pursued through service-learning, has the potential for establishing sustainable efforts to redress economic inequalities and challenge structures of oppression that impede learners’ success in higher education.

The facilitator will utilize and share resources, including: a bibliography that aligns with conversation topics, a worksheet to “take away” a set of strengths that each participant brings to service-learning work, and a list of opportunities for sharing and deliberating equity-center service-learning work.