Service Trip Adds Reality To The Classroom For BU Students


Toron James


On November 18-19, 51 Bloomsburg University Students were in Pittsburgh for the annual Out of Classroom Into The Community trip. This trip is an intensive community service project. In the Fall, the trip is focused on inner-city  Pittsburgh and in the spring, the trip is focused on inner-city Philadelphia.  The goal of out of the classroom in addition to community engagement is to take what students are learning in the classroom and apply it to the community. 

The community trip is led by Ralph Godbolt who serves as the Director of Diversity Retention and Outreach for Bloomsburg University.  

On the trip, students visited local Pittsburgh High school students where they shared their knowledge about College with the high schoolers. There were Q and A sessions where the high school students interacted with Bloomsburg students and asked questions about college and their journey at Bloomsburg Univerity. 

The Bloomsburg University students also helped with gardening in the Pittsburgh Community. That included pulling out weeds, picking onions and tomatoes, and also cleaning up trash that was  around in the garden.

Keynote speakers, who were well respected in the Pittsburgh community, addressed the Bloomsburg students. 

For Godbolt, this experience is so important for students. 

“For students coming from neighborhoods like inner-city Philadelphia  or Pittsburgh to be able to go back to neighborhoods they are similar from coming from and make a difference is huge,” said Godbolt. 

Also Godbolt stated, “For students who may come from suburban communities, they’re able to come and learn about these different neighborhoods and meet some of the good people and the great institutions of these neighborhoods.”

“It helps us remember that we are ultimately on this college journey to make a difference,” Godbolt said in reference to the trip. 

The trip is funded by the Diversity Equity and Inclusion center at Bloomsburg as well as the Multicultural Affairs Office. 

The trip had a record-setting over 90 students sign up for the trip, but only 51 could attend. The trip started in Spring 2018 with only four students.  

Godbolt stated the students who attend the trip or split up into Board of Governor students, Emerging scholar students, Black Studies minor students, and finally,  students who are just interested in issues of equity.

They try to have an equal number of students from those groups who attend the trip. 

Each trip has a theme. This semester, the theme was food insecurity and community programming.

“ The goal of the trip is to make students much more aware of the issue of history of oppression and racism,” said Godbolt. 

The next trip will take place in the Spring where students will travel to Philadelphia.