Sant’Anna Institute holds service learning as a pillar of academic excellence. Courses are intimately connected to the needs and current designs of various aspects of the community. They work in tandem with the community to create new ideas and new visions for future improvement. These projects allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom in a professional manner, which develops their skills and gives back to their host community.
Some recent examples of service learning projects are:
Heritage Interpretation with the Protected Marine Area of Punta Campanella (Marine Biology, Social Sciences, Natural Science): This project digs into the history and culture of the local environment and informs the public of its hidden values. The project focuses on zones that are a part of the Protected Marine Area of Punta Campanella and is done in tandem with professionals that research and monitor the area.
Battle of the Bands with various Sorrento locations(Music, Business): This competition among local high school musicians is organized and promoted by students with the goal of raising money for a study abroad scholarship to be awarded to local high school student programs. Students seek local business sponsors, design the advertising and other event details to put on an enjoyable night for everyone.
English Teaching with local public schools K-12 (Social Sciences): Accompanied by ESL teachers, students assist in lessons to teach local students about the English language. Lessons are guided by the ESL teacher in accordance to the curriculum, and student volunteers may propose, prepare, and present activities to support the lessons while sharing their culture with local kids.
Meta Wayfinding Project (Architecture, Social Sciences): This project is aimed at improving the tourist experience in Meta, a small town near Sorrento. In order to that, there was a need for a clear graphic description or “wayfinding” path that would lead visitors to all of the interesting sites in town, culminating at the waterfront. The project includes more than just a signage system but also elements such as sculptures, murals, benches for stopping and historical markers along the way.
Student Secrets of Sorrento with the Surrentum, a local magazine (English, Communications): The study abroad experience in Sorrento offers a deeper perspective of the town. The Surrentum offers column space to Sant’Anna students to share their insights with the Surrentum audience: both local community members, visiting tourists, and other students.
Volunteer & Civic Engagement
Sant’Anna Institute considers it very important to encourage students to participate in volunteer & civic engagement projects. This means making an effort to make a difference in the civic life of the Sorrento community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. By participating in volunteer work students recognize themselves as members of the Sorrento community and therefore engage to improve the social life of the town. Some recent examples of volunteer & civic engagement projects are:
Beach Clean-up: Every year, students volunteer to clean up one of the beautiful beaches around the Sorrento Peninsula and engage in the community with this wonderful volunteering project.
Museum in Piazza: Every year, a group of volunteers from Sant’Anna Institute and Le Amiche del Museo Correale (a women’s non-profit association who raises funds for the local museum) hold a clothing sale in Sorrento. The sale consists of selling clothing that is donated by the women of Le Amiche del Museo Correale, as well as some members of their respective families.
Free English Conversation Classes: In collaboration with the Town Hall of Sorrento, Sant’Anna Institute organizes free conversation classes in English for low-income locals. The lessons are very successful, and at the end of the course both the students and the “professors” are awarded by the Mayor at the Town Hall in Sorrento during an official ceremony.
Social Work: In cooperation with “The Next and the Future”, a non-profit association for disabled people, students assist with the daily recreational activities organized to build confidence and community relationships among a local group of adults with developmental disabilities. Activities include arts and crafts, grocery shopping, cooking, emotional exercises, games, music, dancing, and more.
Kick for a Cause: A soccer tournament is organized with volunteer teams from the community and students with the objective of raising awareness for a designated cause. Students are in charge of creating an international playing field, bringing together and sharing diverse cultures through sport. All the while, they choose a local charity to donate any proceeds from the event to.
Cooking for the Community: Together with San Paolo Institute, the local high school specialized in the tourism industry, fundraising dinner events are proposed, organized, and carried out by students in collaboration with the high school’s professional kitchen facilities in order to raise awareness and funds for local charitable causes. Students may also collaborate with the high school students or local business professionals on planning, sponsoring, and realizing the final event.