Posted: May 11, 2006
The Community-Based Learning Program screened its new film, Beyond This Green: Liberal Learning through Community Partnerships, May 3 in Gamble Auditorium. Through interviews with students, faculty, and community leaders, as well as on-site footage, the video documents the personal learning experiences of several MHC students in CBL courses.
The CBL program started at Mount Holyoke about 12 years ago. According to Preston Smith, associate director of the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts for the Community-Based Learning and associate professor and chair of politics, the CBL program's mission is "to provide a way for students to advance their studies by giving them the exposure to real-life applications of the classroom's theoretical teachings. The CBL program also aims to create mutually beneficial relationships between the College and agencies in its neighboring communities, primarily Holyoke and South Hadley, Massachusetts."
The idea for the video came from Lily Shapiro '04, an Americorps*VISTA volunteer who is in her second year working on several CBL initiatives at Mount Holyoke. In her first year she split her time between Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges. She proposed the video project to Smith last fall when they were discussing possible ways to communicate how the CBL program contributes to the education of MHC students.
Shapiro, who designed her own major in architecture and social science, had some previous experience in CBL and video. She has closely collaborated with Sarah Dorman '06, a film studies minor who started working on the project during January Term. While the project was initially conceived of as a tool to demonstrate to faculty, students, and administration how CBL enhances students' academic experiences, it has taken on wider applications. According to Shapiro, Smith plans to show the video to community groups interested in becoming CBL partners. In addition, because Mount Holyoke's CBL program is highly regarded among New England colleges, the video will be made available as a resource for other schools seeking to create or enlarge their own CBL programs.