Foley Center Hopeful for Success of Service Pods

Morgan Eiland: The Foley Center prepares to bring the Service Pods back.
The Foley Center prepares to bring the Service Pods back.

One of Spring Hill College’s main focuses for its students is helping them find their vocation. Fall of 2019 will be the beginning of the Foley Center’s pilot year of service pods for returning students. Students involved in the service pods will commit to live on the first floor of Skip’s Place with each other as a community for the entire 2019-2020 academic year.

At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, Residence Life and the Foley Center had multiple conversations about creating a partnership where students could provide service around the Mobile community as well as live in their own community on campus. Kristyn Russell, program coordinator for the Foley Center, explained what the service pod is in an interview this week.

“We are anticipating about 10 students in the first pod group. They are all committed to doing 30 hours of service a semester. They are also coming in a few days prior to the start of the semester for a three-day retreat,” said Russell. “So while we are there, I hope to develop leadership skills and start that process of getting to know each other as a community,” she continued.

Students in the pod will work with the Foley Center in finding a community or organization around Mobile that focuses on their major or their interest areas. Once the students pick an organization, they will commit to 30 hours of service in that specific location for the semester. “We want to have them stick to at least one service site to really get that relationship going,” said Russell.

Russell stated that the service pod can also help students find their vocation and purpose. “A lot of students might come in with the intent of being a nursing major or a lawyer. But if they go out and do a service, they might think, ‘Wow, I really want to be a teacher now.’ So, it’s really key to get them knowing about that early on,” said Russell.

Dr. Erik Goldschmidt, director of the Foley Center, is very excited for this new addition to Spring Hill: “The cool thing about this is that it’s a cohort. They’re living together, they’re learning together and they’re exchanging ideas. But they have something in common to kind of create their own sense of community on campus.”

If this upcoming year with the service pod is successful with the returning students, the Foley Center will consider opening up the opportunity for incoming freshmen. “It would help get them connected in Mobile if they’re new to this area. That’s really important,” Goldschmidt added.

Students selected for the 2019-2020 year will be notified by Wednesday. For more information about the service pods, click here.

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