While other students are heading to the beach, a group of University of North Dakota students will stop by Tower City, N.D., during spring break as part of the Stone Soup Bus Tour, a service-learning course sponsored by the UND Center for Community Engagement.
The one-credit class, Service and Rural Communities, enables students to gain a perspective on this area of the country they are calling home while attending UND.
On March 14-15, students will visit Tower City to learn about rural North Dakota and the community’s assets and connections. At the end of the trip, the students will write a report about how rural communities might maximize their use of assets and connections. Other stops on their trip March 11-15 include Karlstad, Minn., and Edinburg, Fort Totten, Towner and Bismarck in North Dakota.
The course is taught by Lana Rakow, professor of communication and director of the Center for Community Engagement, with assistance from Anna Larson, coordinator of the Center’s Community Connect Project; and Kiley Wright, a communication graduate student.
Making connections with communities through the bus tour is one of the best parts of the Stone Soup Bus Tour, Larson said.
“When I contact communities to see if they would like to host the students,” She said, “most of them jump at the chance to have young people come to learn about life in their rural community and the projects residents are working on.”
Rakow said the course is a reflection of the UND’s prestigious “Engaged Campus” designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning. The UND Center for Community Engagement links academic resources with community needs and encourages students to develop knowledge while serving communities.
The bus tour is part of the Center’s Stone Soup Program, which uses the story as a metaphor for community engagement.
“The stone soup legend inspired us to encourage students and community members to contribute to their communities,” Rakow said.
The legend tells of hungry travelers who convince poor villagers to contribute to their soup made from stone, providing enough for everyone.
“We want the University of North Dakota to be a contributor to the good works of the communities in the region,” Rakow added.
In addition to the tour, the Stone Soup Program recognizes and encourages service contributions to communities through an annual Stone Soup Luncheon and Awards Program and the Stone Soup Fund, which provides funding for UND faculty service-learning and community research.
To learn more about the Stone Soup Bus Tour or to talk with the students as they visit rural communities and the state capital, contact Anna Larson at 701.777.6181.
Communication Science & Disorders
University of North Dakota
701.777.0675 | lana.rakow@UND.edu