Jessica Pisano and Amanda Wray lead service learning designated sections of First-Year Writing (LANG 120). Students work with community partners to better understand the causes, implications, outcomes, and activisms associated with food insecurity in Western North Carolina. Students accrue twenty hours of service by collaborating with one or more of the following: FEAST of Asheville (Fresh, Easy, Affordable, Sustainable, Tasty), The Lord’s Acre, and UNC Asheville’s Student Environment Center. Each service learning placement offers unique critical thinking experiences and opportunities for students to use their time and their writing abilities to make concrete changes in our local community. Some students, for example, formed a social mediateam to elevate the public profile of the nonprofit organization FEAST, which goes into local schools and housing communities to teach individuals how to grow and prepare fresh produce. Other students invest time and energy in maintaining the on-campus gardens, where harvested produce is donated to the local community and used for the Farm to Table event at UNC Asheville. We also join the Student Environment Center’s “crob mobs” where studentsdesign and build a community garden in an Asheville neighborhood considered food insecure.
No matter what service experiences First-Year Writing students choose, they all experience a rigorous writing curriculum that emphasizes the skills of rhetorical analysis, primary and secondary research, persuasion, reflection, and revision. We showcase writing as a tool of discovery, inquiry, and analysis, and students practice writing for varied audiences and situations attending in all ways possible to “writing” as a multimodal literacy practice.