Service learning: Students in UST's Changing Faces of Minnesota program visit Mixed Blood Theatre

Service learning: Students in UST's Changing Faces of Minnesota program visit Mixed Blood Theatre

Editors' note: Many University of St. Thomas students, faculty and staff are involved in service-learning courses and programs. Here, a student reflects on her experience at a social event involving other participants in Changing Faces of Minnesota: A Global Perspective. As part of the program, her geography class works with immigrant and refugee students at Lincoln International High School in Minneapolis.

By Anna Donnelly,
Member of the Changing Faces of Minnesota student advisory board,
Work-study student for CF of MN, and
Participant in CF of MN through Geography 298

Mad dancers, finger food, and a heated political debate -- does anything sound like more FUN? On Oct. 16, students from the Changing Faces of Minnesota: A Global Perspective program went to a play at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. “The Mad Dancers” depicted one man’s struggle for happiness in a story intermingling 18th century Eastern European Jewish culture and today’s sterile corporate environment and Mideast violence.

The play was interesting -- but a little bit confusing as we made leaps back and forth in time and setting.

After the play we went to an Ethiopian restaurant, The Blue Nile. The food was very different and absolutely delicious! All of the food was placed on top of engera, a special Ethiopian bread. On top of the engera were the mouth-watering dishes of spiced lentils, carrots, and maraca (chicken) that everyone ate entirely with their hands. During dinner we had a heated political debate over different philosophical perspectives and on the advantages and disadvantages of capitalism, socialism and communism.

This evening full of finger-licking fun and stimulating conversations was one way that students can learn outside of the classroom. The Changing Faces of Minnesota – A Global Perspective partners St. Thomas classes with Lincoln International High School students, who are immigrants and refugees. We work on collaborative academic projects with people from all over the world like Ecuador, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. What we learn from working with this global population, and from eating with our fingers during an eye-opening debate, are priceless lessons that cannot be found in a book.

For more information about service-learning, contact Dr. Ellen Kennedy, director of Service-Learning, at (651) 962-5082.