Tulane Students Embrace Service Learning

In post-Katrina New Orleans, Tulane students take part in rebuilding effort.

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Hurricane Katrina blasted the city of New Orleans. Tulane University shut down for a semester; by the time it reconvened, it had lost plenty of students. But the students who did return—and the new students arriving on campus—found a university committed to public service, a school clamoring for its students to get involved in rebuilding the city. 

Tulane's students have certainly answered the bell, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. They have to: Service learning has become a central part of Tulane's curriculum, the report says. Ranging from archaeological digs to working in schools, Tulane's kids are soaking up the new aspect of their college education. 

"In the aftermath of Katrina, Tulane was forced to make a number of radical and drastic decisions. We were in survival mode," Ana M. López, associate professor of communication and associate provost for faculty affairs at the school, tells the Chronicle. "We felt early on that Tulane had a responsibility not only to reopen but also to help rebuild the city." 

Within their first two years at Tulane, all students must take one service-learning course. In their final two years, students have to complete some kind of service-learning project, the report says. It's a package deal, and the kids are buying into it. 

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