Five Plymouth State University students are getting ‘real-world’ business experience and their volunteer efforts are helping a Bethlehem, N.H. women-centered organization.
The Women’s Rural Entrepreneur Network (WREN) is a nationally recognized not-for-profit agency that provides and supports strategies for entrepreneurial development, access to markets, Main Street revitalization, and rural economic development.
The students, members of Dr. Robin DeRosa’s ‘Feminism in the U.S.’ course, include Matt Tetreault, Lizz Pearson, Beth Wilson, Devin-Jean McCormack and Dez Perkins. They are doing their required service learning projects for WREN, which blends their work on theoretical models of feminism with grassroots, service-oriented activism.
Dez Perkins is excited over the project, acknowledging it turned into something far more than he expected.
“For most school projects, the main goal is acquiring a decent grade so that we can continue to acquire decent grades in a hope that we can acquire a decent job. In this project, however, we seem to be observing just what a decent job might be, which is a switch from the norm. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, the grade has become a secondary consideration at this point,” Perkins said.
Marilinne Cooper, WREN Director, says, “We’re very excited about the possibilities this partnership offers. We like the idea of that the students will bring a fresh approach with current learning. WREN can be a real-life laboratory that fulfills our needs and theirs, creating a situation that mutually benefits both parties. The PSU students will get to work not only with actual businesses, but the organization that serves them.”
Dr. Robin DeRosa says, “The students in my class who are working with WREN will learn so much about how to work with folks from the community. Service learning helps my students navigate complicated issues related to communication across a variety of differences, and it also insists that students take the major portion of responsibility for their own work. The group of students working with WREN are handling all of the facets of the project themselves: from brainstorming ideas to developing a plan to working with the WREN staff to meet the needs of the organization. The project is an integral part of our course in Feminism, which is focused in great part on coalition building, the intersection between academic theory and socio-political activism, and issues related to gender in contemporary culture; I was grateful that WREN was open to this partnership, which will allow students to practice many of the skills and concepts on which the course focuses,” said DeRosa.
WREN representatives also met with Dr. Lisa Lindgren when they visited campus in September to discuss other opportunities for future PSU-WREN partnerships.
For further information about WREN, call (603) 869-9736, or on the web at www.wrencommunity.org
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Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.