Building empathy and practicing social justice: Partnering with Latina/o/x communities in the Midwest


  • Elena Foulis The Ohio State University
  • Christina Garcia Saint Louis University


In an increasingly competitive market, the onerous is on departments to ensure that students build targeted skills. Nevertheless, in an ever more polarized and politicized world, it is unwise to trade off engaging in social justice for a checklist of abilities. Community-based and service-learning offer the unique opportunity for students to hone their professional skills while developing into responsive citizens. We explore partnering with Spanish-speaking communities in two contexts: a land-grant and a Jesuit university. Student reflections demonstrate that being in situations where community members are their equals allows them to build empathy, test their intercultural competence, and make connections between their studies and careers.