Saint Anselm students Hannah O’Halloran and Riley Duggan have spent the past semester at Saint Benedict Academy as part of a service learning opportunity in their Liberation Theology Class. Service learning permits the college students to take the lessons they’re learning in their coursework out into the community – essentially, making the world their classroom!
Duggan is a senior Peace and Justice Major with a Minor in Theology. She describes Liberation Theology as “approaching faith and life as Christ did: with a preferential option for the poor.” O’Halloran, a junior Sociology Major with a Minor in Social Work, echoed this statement, noting that Liberation Theology is about “looking at the world through the eyes of the poor and oppressed and standing in solidarity with them.”
Riley and Hannah have been working with Mrs. Kathy Johnston’s Third Grade class on Friday afternoons. One of the highlights of the third grade year at Saint Benedict is running the TerraCycle Recycling Program for the school. Students recycle their Capri Sun and other juice pouches and are able to earn points for each item recycled. These points are then able to be redeemed to obtain items for impoverished communities and regions. In the past, Mrs. Johnston’s students have bought cattle and chickens for an African village and purchased the equipment for a well for clean drinking water. Hannah and Riley were able to work with Mrs. Johnston to enhance this program by educating the students about the principles of Social Justice, most notably the Stewardship of Creation and the Preferential Option for the Poor.
This semester, the Saint Anselm students guest-taught in the students’ social studies class by sharing information about natural and human resources. Certainly these lessons will help frame the students’ decisions this spring about how to expend the points they’ve built up with TerraCycle. Riley and Hannah oversaw the creation of posters educating the other students about the program and accompanied the third graders to each of the classrooms to explain the logistics of the program and why it is important.
As part of their culminating project at SBA, the two students designed a bulletin board outside of the library focusing on “Protecting Our Environment.” The board contains quotes from students about ways in which they can protect it and Bible passages addressing why it must be protected. The Biblical passages fit nicely into SBA’s theme for the year to act informed by Scripture: “Let us arise, then, at last, for the Scripture stirs us up.”
Saint Benedict Academy is extremely thankful for the service learning program at Saint Anselm College and was pleased to welcome and host Riley and Hannah this semester.