Engaged Learning Reflection

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In order to be awarded points for an approved experience, you will be required to submit a written reflection in the experience form that demonstrates your understanding of the experience and the impact it had on you, an organization, a community, or beyond.

Those who complete community service will be contacted by the Office of Service and Civic Engagement to attend a group reflection session. 

Whether a written reflection or group reflection session, your reflection should provide a thoughtful and thorough response to the following questions to meet the engaged learning objectives:

Reflection Questions Engaged Learning Objectives
Using examples from your experience, illustrate what you learned about yourself, others and/or the organization Student provides sufficient details to demonstrate engaged learning.
Describe specific challenges and/or successes that you encountered. Student provides sufficient details to demonstrate engaged learning.
How will you apply what you learned to your personal, academic, and/or professional life? Student reflects on the experience, analyzing its meaning, significance, and/or connection to learning and/or life.

Note: The three reflection questions above are provided as a guide to help you to write a thoughtful reflection or to formulate verbal responses while attending a session.  The reviewer or session facilitator will want you to meet the objectives.

Sample Reflections by Rider Students

The reflections below were written by your peers and submitted in a BroncNation experience form. Read them to see how each one responds to the Reflection Questions and Objectives above. The samples are provided as inspiration only; your reflection will be as unique and individual as you are.

Submitted under Engaged Learning category CCE: New Student Engagement Experience

Anonymous, New student experience

I went to six events during the spring semester that I believe fulfill the requirements for the New Student Engagement Experience. Each event is listed below:

  1. Smoke Free Forum
    February 22, 2018 11:30 a.m.
    Hosted by: Alcohol/Drug & Sexual Assault Prevention.
  2. Science Friday - Marcel Agüeros
    February 23, 2018 2:45 p.m.
    Hosted by: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  3. Women's basketball game against Quinnipiac
    February 23, 2018 7:00 p.m.
  4. The Red Elephant in the Room
    March 5, 2018 9:30 p.m.
    Hosted by: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  5. She's Beautiful When She's Angry–Documentary for Women's History Month 
    March 6, 2018 6:30 p.m.
    Hosted by: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  6. Self-Care Strive to Thrive Workshop 
    March 27, 2018 12:00 p.m.
    Hosted by: Department of Counseling Services

The events I went to improved my Rider experience because I learned a lot about myself. I think understanding yourself is an important step and allows a person to reflect on ways to make life better – for themself and for other people.

The Smoke Free Forum was a good event because there were a lot of things I did not know about smoking. I learned that vaping devices also have traces of nicotine, which may make it addictive for people who want to quit smoking. Because of that, I will never vape in my life. I also softened my opinion on smoking in general. I originally wanted to completely ban smoking right away on college campuses but after listening to people at the forum who argued that a gradual process is needed, I found that I agreed with them. We need time to educate people about the dangers of smoking so we can prevent nonsmokers from ever smoking and a plan to help smokers get over their addiction so they can quit smoking once and for all.

I also learned a lot at Science Friday with Marcel Agüeros. I learned about the solar and lunar calendars and about Ptolomy's geocentric model versus the modern day heliocentric model of Copernicus and Galileo. Marcel Agüeros helped me soften my opinion on Ptolomy's geocentric model. Initially, I thought the geocentric model was stupid and pointless but Marcel Agüeros told me that the geocentric model was very important because it helped us discover new things and set the foundation for the heliocentric model; this helped me learn to try to refrain from using definitive or extreme language when talking about debatable topics.

I enjoyed seeing my friends at the women's basketball game against Quinnipiac, the first sporting event I ever went to at Rider. What struck me most about this event was that even though Rider University women’s basketball team lost to Quinnipiac University’s team, they lost with grace and dignity.

The Red Elephant in the Room event allowed me to understand that women have struggled to succeed in politics. I made connections between the stereotypes that make the political environment difficult for women and my own struggles with stereotypes and fitting into society; this helped me develop deeper empathy for members of both sexes who are struggling.

At the “She's Beautiful When She's Angry” documentary for Women's History Month I learned about the struggles of women throughout history. Women struggled to gain the right to vote, the right to equal pay, and the right to birth control. Attending this event opened my eyes the advantages of being a man and to led me to empathize with women who have to deal with challenges that men don't face.

The Self-Care Strive to Thrive Workshop taught me what my strengths and weaknesses were in taking care of myself. I learned that I am doing well in the physical self-care category while I am struggling with the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and workplace/academic self-care categories. I will keep up the good work in the physical self-care category and I will work toward better psychological, emotional, spiritual, and workplace/academic self-care.

As I move into my sophomore year at Rider, I would like to do some volunteer work for the Engaged Learning requirement. The events that I attended as part of the New Student Engagement Experience inspired me to strive to be a better person. These events helped me realize that I want to participate in more events that involve helping those in need. I know I will make new friends along the way. I would also like to take the Student Global Village course with Dr. Roberta Fiske-Rusciano to fulfill the Study Abroad and Cultural Experience requirement because it will engage my intelligence in a new area. I believe that interacting with college students living in other countries will help me identify the aspects of my life that are most meaningful to me and to have greater appreciation for them. I look forward to these experiences and more, knowing that they will make my college years even better.

Submitted under Engaged Learning category LM: Leadership and Mentoring

Ashley Costa, American Marketing Association Reflection

As I recount my time as the President of the American Marketing Association chapter at Rider University, several key lessons come to mind. During my term, I more than doubled membership and member retention, lead the 2017 eBay Case Study, raised over $1,600, developed partnerships with local organizations, largely contributed to the earning of the Functional Award for our 2017 Annual Report and more. From these experiences, I have learned the true meaning of being a leader and the challenges associated with that as well as.

Before I began my term, I expected a slightly different experience. I anticipated that I would have a hand in planning every event with an overwhelming organic motivation from my peers. Frankly, it was quite the opposite. Quickly, I learned that I had much more to do than partake in planning events. I had much more paperwork and organizational restructuring, and I became the biggest cheerleader to encourage “organic motivation.” However, I am not complaining. By doing so much paperwork, organizational restructuring and other duties, I developed a strong appreciation for my club. I became aware of every value that AMA had to offer. The more I became aware of all the good my club I had to offer, the less I saw this opportunity as a stellar bullet point on my résumé and more as a duty to uphold for my members who were not as aware. I began by starting every meeting with AMA news about scholarships, jobs, networking opportunities, etc. Anything that I thought my members would benefit from, I made them aware of it. I worked hard at increasing the potency of the ideas that my members had. I wanted to make sure that if they had an interest in something, it became my interest for them to pursue it. For example, for the eBay Case Study, the parts were assigned based on each members’ career interests, as I wanted the experience to be one of purpose. From all of this, I now know that a leader is not only someone who encourages others to produce positive results, but someone who encourages others to produce positive results because they have learned to put the personal development of their members before themselves.

Although my time as President was a good experience, I had my challenges. The biggest challenge as a leader was motivating others (especially those who are in the same age group as you). My passion for the club developed quickly and strongly, but this was not the same for all members. Since it is one of the smaller clubs on campus, I struggled to find inexpensive ways to make my members feel appreciated and driven. Overall, retention was much better than previous years, but I still felt times where production was stagnant. A lot of the times, external factors contributed to this low morale. Planning events became frustrating because of the extensive approval process, and lapses in communication from SGA and other organizations made things difficult. Ultimately this lead to the inability to host or attend events, which noticeably lowered member motivation. A sense of “why bother?” washed over some. While others always showed up to meetings, they never actually participated. As I sent out a survey at the end of each semester to discover true feelings about the organization, I scarcely received replies, which made it difficult to pinpoint the reason for some members’ disinterest. I hope moving forward, AMA and other clubs can receive greater support from Rider, by possibly providing onboarding files for leaders to learn the processes to host/attend events, acquire funding, and develop a list of contacts for related questions. Also, some sort of guidelines for joining members that may increase member involvement would be of great help.

In all, my time as chapter President of AMA at Rider University was a memorable experience that I will carry with me through my professional career path. I plan to further exercise my leadership skills, as this is a role I have come to like very much. As AMA continues to grow, I am eager to witness everything the club will achieve as I know there are great plans in store. I have made an effort to make myself an available resource to the upcoming board, as I will always be happy to encourage the success of the club. Good Luck AMA!!

Submitted under Engaged Learning category SACE: Study Abroad and Cultural Exploration

Ashley Leeds, Perusing through Peru

In May 2017, I was fortunate to attend a service-learning trip to Peru. Beyond learning about the people and culture, I had the opportunity to provide service by working with carpenters to build lockers and cubbies for children in a school. Unlike my own childhood experience, these students lacked this simple, but useful, resource to store their belongings. One personal challenge I had was struggling with activities and tasks that do not naturally come easy for me (in this case, carpentry). I realized that I am resilient and work hard to achieve a goal, especially when the focus is on providing for others.

While I could have been annoyed at myself for not being able to easily operate power tools to construct the lockers, I instead became determined. I knew that I had to prove to myself that I was capable of drilling nails in wood in order to gain the most of this experience and to help the children. While this may be a simple task for some, it was a challenge for me. Nonetheless, I rose to the occasion and am proud of myself for doing so. I also learned that the carpenters we worked with, whose native language is Spanish, were also determined to overcome obstacles and did not allow the language barrier to prevent them from communicating with the volunteers. We used hand gestures and facial expressions to do the talking for us! I admire that the group was able to collaborate and assist one another with duties by using more than just verbal communication.

Coming back home and having the chance to reflect on this incredible opportunity has helped me to appreciate what I have. While Peru is a beautiful place, this wonderful country does not have some of the material possessions that Americans oftentimes take for granted. Cubbies are usually something that schools in the United States possess. We automatically assume that all individuals are as lucky as us, but in reality, they may not be. We worked out of one of the carpenter’s homes, and while we were not overly exposed to his personal environment, his lifestyle was evident. A communal sink was placed in his backyard, and he, his wife, and his children utilized the sink to wash dishes and to brush their teeth. A dishwasher was not present — a simple appliance that many Americans use on a daily basis was absent from this household.

I can connect this experience to my academic and personal life whenever I relate to my peers. I can delve deeper into knowing them by asking them about their life and how they grew up – what they may have had or not had that influenced their upbringing. Additionally, as a future professional, I will be more open-minded and curious to learn about my clients, and know that a question like asking them what their experience was like growing up will force me to not prejudge and better understand them as an individual.

Submitted under Engaged Learning category SACE: Study Abroad and Cultural Exploration

Ashley Leeds, Hillel’s Blessing

I have served in various positions in Hillel, and as a result, I have been fascinated to view the organization through multiple lenses. For the 2016-17 academic year, I was the Public Relations/Event Chair. This position was unique, in that my tasks primarily required me to use technology to communicate with the community. I learned that even though I didn’t have as much face-to-face interaction with individuals in the community, I did benefit the organization and could adjust my working style and conduct my duties using an Internet and social media platform. A difficult lesson I had to learn and accept was that regardless of how well I publicized events, I could not control the ultimate outcome of the event or how many people attended. I have come to learn that while attendance at events is important, the quality of the event is far more relevant. I would rather help plan a successful event where only several students enjoy themselves than hold a chaotic function for many students. A way that I can connect this to my future work as a psychotherapist is to realize that I can do my best to work to create positive outcomes for my clients, but I must accept that I cannot control the level of responsibility that my clients have toward their results, and that the quality of our time together is most important.

As I stated earlier, attendance was problematic for Hillel. Unfortunately, mostly executive board members showed up to events. One way we attempted to overcome this challenge and boost our numbers was by teaming up with other ethnic groups on campus. Collaborative events increased our audience and helped spread awareness to the Rider University community about our group. In my future professional setting, I see that partnering with other colleagues will assist me in expanding my network, philosophies and thought processes.

I can apply what I learned to my personal life by understanding that when I have a challenge to overcome, I must persist and try new methods. If the result is not necessarily what I had anticipated, I must continue to brainstorm different ways to ensure that I produce outcomes that satisfy my needs and the needs of the organizations I lead. As a prospective future licensed social worker, I may need to think outside of the box and find different ways to assist my clients for our work together to be successful. The ups and downs of Hillel have proved to me that my determination and open-mindedness are mechanisms that can be utilized for improvement!

To Learn More

For information or assistance with BroncNation contact Allie Koury, Coordinator of Student Involvement, at 609-896-5000 Ext. 7106 or [email protected].

For information or assistance with Engaged Learning contact Sandra Ober, Engaged Learning Coordinator, at 609-896-5000 Ext. 7055 or [email protected].

Always include your Bronc ID in all correspondence.