Rio Grande, Ohio – Students in the University of Rio Grande’s Bunce School of Education are working to make a difference in Southeast Ohio. As part of this effort to support the community, Dr. Sangeeta Gulati’s Multicultural Relations class hosted a book drive to collect books for local elementary schools’ libraries. She said the students put a lot of time into making the project a success.
“Every semester, the class does a service learning project to help those in need. The students decided a book drive would be best for this semester because as future educators, they want to help children,” Gulati said. “The class has a motto of ‘Think Globally. Act Locally,’ which means to think of global issues such as poverty or hunger, and think of ways to help fight the problem in our own community and create awareness for the problem.”
The students in Gulati’s class set up drop-off boxes throughout campus as well as businesses in Rio to collect books for Pre-K through sixth grade reading levels. Leigh Davis, a post-grad student from South Bloomingville earning her music education licensure, said she first noticed the need for new books while visiting a local elementary school.
“As teacher candidates we need to be aware of the needs of children in our area schools. An important part of this is looking at aspects of the classroom where other areas may be more advantaged, and we believe the students in this area need more resources such as books,” Davis said. “I think it’s important for our class to do this kind of project because it opens up our cultural lenses and learn more about our own community to be able to properly support them.”
After the book drive, the class tallied the books and sorted them by grade levels. Gulati said the idea behind the class is to give her students a better idea of different concerns around the world, and teach them to create global awareness once they become teachers.
“I am so proud of the work they have done on this project,” Gulati said. “All of these students are going to be teachers, and can be role models for their students by teaching them how to deal with societal issues and give back to their communities.”
The students collected 1247 books to divide between the five elementary schools. Gulati said the community played a large role in reaching this total and that the class even received a donation from Bossard Library in Gallipolis. Corey Farley, a junior early childhood education major from Jackson, said the class wanted to find a way to make the project about education in the community.
“We believe it’s always a great opportunity to provide the schools with more books for their students. We had several different ideas and wanted to find a new way we could give back to our community this semester. Getting these free books to the kids will help enhance their reading and open their minds,” Farley said. “We are all so impressed with the number of books we collected. It really exceeded our expectations, and we’re so pleased with the generosity of the community. I’m really excited to be a part of this project.”