Press release from Warren Wilson College:
Warren Wilson College psychology professor Kathryn Burleson, Ph.D., is a featured author, among others from institutions such as Elon University, Michigan State University and the University of Notre Dame, in an influential new book that heralds the merits of taking students off-campus to learn with culturally diverse communities in the United States.
In the chapter she contributed to the book, Burleson discusses the role of intercultural service learning experiences on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in her Cultural Psychology course. Roughly 60 students have traveled to Pine Ridge, which the USDA cites as having more than 50 percent of the population living in poverty, to engage in food security and youth empowerment service learning projects since 2007.
“The Pine Ridge experience offers students a unique opportunity to serve intimately and learn from the Pine Ridge community,” said Burleson. “We are hosted by community leaders who facilitate significant cultural learning experiences blended with civic engagement. For me personally, it is an honor to be involved; I appreciate how much has had to happen (historically as well as ongoing relationship building) for us to not only be hosted by Lakota leaders, but to be given the opportunity to learn from our hosts in the manner in which we do.”
Launched as a fall break service project in 2007 by alumnus Justin Levy, Warren Wilson College’s work with the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is in partnership with the Conscious Alliance. Upon Levy’s graduation, Burleson incorporated the Conscious Alliance partnership with Pine Ridge into her Cultural Psychology course. In addition to distributing food within the region, students take on other pressing projects and interact with tribal leaders to gain valuable insight to the Lakota culture. In the years since the partnership began with Conscious Alliance, multiple students have taken on internship and employment opportunities with the nonprofit, including Levy, who serves as executive director.
The book, “Putting the Local in Global Education: Models for Transformative Learning Through Domestic Off-Campus Programs,” centers on the idea “that domestic off-campus study can be just as powerful a transformative learning experience as study overseas, and that domestic programs can equally expand students’ horizons, their knowledge of global issues and processes, their familiarity and experience with cultural diversity, their intercultural skills, and sense of citizenship,” according to Stylus Publishing. More information here.