Posted on February 8, 2010 by Tia Lalani

Kara Blizzard talks to CSL student Christopher Robblee about his experience at Strome School.

By Kara Blizzard –

Community service learning (CSL) is becoming more and more popular at Augustana. Many courses have optional CSL components, which involve volunteer placements within the community.

Christopher Robblee, a psychology major, has just begun his CSL experience this semester. He is acting as a project mentor at Strome School for two of his courses: Environmental Psychology and Studies in Deviant Behaviour.

Students at Strome School are participating in a contest called Caring For Our Watersheds (caringforourwatersheds.com). They have been asked to answer the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” by coming up with creative project proposals that promote water sustainability. Christopher said he will be “helping [the students] with research, grammar and writing, and shaping their ideas.” He suggested that the project would also improve his own reading and writing skills.

According to Christopher, the CSL project fits well with his deviant behaviour course: “I really believe that programs like this help to stop kids from getting involved with crime. I grew up in a small town, and it seems like sometimes there’s nothing to do except commit crimes and do drugs. This project gives kids an outlet.” For the environmental psychology course, Christopher will observe “how [students] deal with their environment, and whether or not they think they can make a change.”

Christopher will complete forty hours of service for the two-course project, and then he will write reflection papers about his experience. Since he is aiming for a CSL certificate from Augustana, he must also complete a non-credit volunteer project. He has decided to volunteer for the Open Door Association, as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Next year Christopher will finish his certification by taking two more CSL-related courses.

Christopher said that community service learning projects are challenging, but participating in them can be a good choice. They provide many volunteer experiences, which is helping him to explore his interests. He hopes to study forensic psychology after he completes his Augustana degree, and the CSL certification will take him “one more step towards grad school” by enhancing his curriculum vitae.


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