Reflective Essay Guidelines – Red, White, and Serve
Your 4-5-page essay (1000-1250 words) should be in the 1st person. Use the word ‘I’. Be reflective. Reflect on your thoughts and feelings before your service began, as you served, and after your service ended. Also, reflect on the SDGs and the articles you’ve read, the films, and the discussions or lectures. Which goal or goals (and they’re usually overlapping) do you think a service like the one you observed and at which you participated, are being met in part by the service you and others performed? Why? How? Make connections between your service and the Sustainable Development Goals. Does this work matter?
Part 1 — Begin with how you felt going into the experience. This is about you, so use the word ‘I’. Were you intrigued by this opportunity? Is this a new experience for you? What were your expectations, or your fears, your hopes, etc.? Did you feel prepared? Did you dread having to do this? (Part 1: 5 points)
Part 2 — So, you arrived at the designated point per the instructions online, and eventually arrived at your place of service. Where was your service, which organization? What is the mission of the organization? Who was there to greet you and represent the organization and explain what you’d be doing? About how many students were participating in your group? What did you do over the course of your service experience at the site? Is it what you expected/imagined? Did it go off smoothly? Glitches? Resolutions? Relevant examples or stories? (Part 2: 5 points)
Part 3 — How do you connect your service to the SDGs and our readings/lectures/discussions? Remember, no one, yet everyone, is tasked with achieving these goals. It’s not up to the government, nor business, nor the individual, and at the same time, it is up to all of us. The SDGs are recommendations by the United Nations, but who is in charge? How do you gauge the progress of the SDGs? Do you feel that you and your group and ASU has done something, even in a small way to work toward achieving these goals? How/why, or not? Which goal(s) do you think were in-part advanced through your service? How? If not, why not? Please use examples from the material we are studying in class, examples from your service, and outside links (see next paragraph). ‘Illustrate’ (strengthen) your essay with your descriptions and examples.
Incorporate a minimum of 3 articles, films, links, that discuss some aspect of what your organization, and similar organizations is/are doing into your discussion. Benchmark – ‘who else is doing similar work, and what does research show about the impact of this work? Include the links/articles at the bottom of your essay. (Part 3: 10 points)
Part 4 – Wrap it Up: Summarize what you’ve written. Then, give an overall assessment of what you feel is the value of non-profit organization, and community service, and this whole experience in general, while at the same time remembering the theme of this course, World Crises, and if and how this small-scale, local activity is of any value. Examples are always illustrative and strengthen one’s argument. (Part 4: 5 points)