Over the past year, a unique opportunity of service within the community was offered to the students who are employed by the Walla Walla University Student Development Center as tutors. Starting in November 2020, as many as 20 WWU students tutored students at Walla Walla High School, Garrison Middle School, and Pioneer Middle School.
The tutors assisted the students in a variety of subjects, including math, English, history, science, and Spanish. The service was funded entirely by WWU as a way for the university to invest and engage with members of the College Place and Walla Walla communities. The program not only provides a needed service for the local communities around WWU, but it also provides paying jobs for university students. WWU's Student Development Center intends on applying for grants to help cover the hiring costs of students for the program to continue.
Regarding the partnership, Heidi Roberts, SDC office manager and peer tutoring coordinator, said, “Tutors reported their greatest blessings coming from being able to encourage young people, to form a connection with a demographic that they wouldn’t normally have exposure to. Helping students with homework was great, but, more than that, having the chance to connect on a personal level with students who were experiencing great hardships during the pandemic made the biggest impact on the tutors. On a larger scale, the opportunity for WWU to support the local community was very exciting to University Administration, as it was right in line with our philosophy of “Generosity in Service.”
There were some challenges that needed careful navigation however, as students faced the difficulties surrounding COVID-19 learning conditions and online school. Other challenges included calendar mismatches, technological difficulties and communication barriers. Roberts said regarding the challenges, “The coordinators and tutors were all champs, though, and everything was always sorted out quickly, when adjustments were necessary.”
To learn more about the peer tutoring services offered by the Student Development Center, visit wallawalla.edu/sdc.
Posted July 16, 2021