Students of the Human Services 345: Working with Communities class taught by Instructor Ellisha Jones.

Students of the Human Services 345: Working with Communities class taught by Instructor Ellisha Jones.

Human services students at Columbia College-Hunter Army Airfield aren’t waiting until graduation to use their skills to help others — they’re serving the community now.

Students in a recent session of Human Services 345: Working with Communities taught by Ellisha Jones recently held a wildly successful donation drive for three organizations: the Humane Society, the SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence Services and the Inner City Night Shelter.

The drive was planned as part of a course requirement; the students in the class were required to work together to come up with an activity they could do as a team to make a positive change in the community. After much brainstorming and a lot of great ideas, the class decided that a “necessity drive” would best serve the Savannah community.

To complete the donation drive, students requested items from other classes on campus, local businesses, churches, family and friends. The class also recruited volunteers to continue to support the organizations long after the donation drive ended.

The drive was a huge success, with one organization saying the class’s donation was more than it had received from a large corporate sponsor, and another one saying the donation from the drive was the largest they have ever received.

The course structure is based on the idea that, in this increasingly competitive workforce, the best students are those who supplement their in-class work with out-of-class activities.

“Employers want graduates backed by real world experience that are ready to hit the ground running,” said Dana Davis, director of Columbia College-Hunter Army Airfield. “While the education gained in the classroom is without a doubt beneficial, using what was learned and applying it to real-world learning opportunities can lead to a more robust and well-rounded education.”

Columbia College is committed to providing advantageous opportunities like these for its students, with the Hunter AAF campus also providing opportunities for art students to visit museums and criminal justice students to take part in police car ride-alongs.