All posts by Susan Demers

Doing Well by Doing Good

community service

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, a panel of representatives from six different non-profit organizations gathered at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus to talk about about how they began doing community service with the charitable entities with which they are associated.

Zelda O’Connell of the Florida Dream Center, Patricia Deplasco of Keep Pinellas Beautiful, and Chuck Tiernan of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay spoke to the students, telling them that they have their current jobs because of their community service. Our moderator, Tara Newsom, reiterated that, pointing out to our students how critical a single volunteer experience turned out to be for our panelists.

Terrika Hobbs from Pinellas Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition (PERC) told the audience how she had once been a client at PERC, and introduced the audience to PERC’s newest employee, who is a recent graduate of one of our four-year health programs.

Finally, local attorney Tony Griffith talked about his work with Habitat for Humanity and Professor Kim Jackson spoke about her work with the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. Both emphasized the structural and policy aspects of non-profit work. Multiple panelists talked about not only volunteer opportunities, but also internships available and the opportunity to hone transferable work skills or test drive interests in the non-profit sector.

Our speakers were informational and inspirational. Our students learned about some great sources of assistance, since some of them may need the services of these very organizations. Ultimately, our goal was to show our community members how volunteering can assist in building career skills and connections. The evening was such a success that we hope to replicate it on multiple campuses for a wider audience in semesters to come.

Our community, Public Safety, Public Policy and Legal Studies, is made of first responders, policy wonks and legal eagles: not natural companions, but all of our group are interested in public service, and this program gave our students a whole new way of looking at and finding opportunities for public service. We think this program was the perfect example of a way to demonstrate all three pillars of the St. Petersburg College mission, vision and values all at once.

Applied Ethics combines with Smart Start for summer course

Applied Ethics Institute art

This summer the Applied Ethics Institute will offer two special sections of PHI 1600 Applied Ethics.

Designed to start recent high school graduates off on the right foot, the course would also serve any student needing to complete the Smart Start requirement and satisfy their Applied Ethics credit. These enhanced sections will include an advisor who will cover the Smart Start material and a writing tutor to begin the college-long quest for improved writing.

Ethics course details – real-life issues

Dealing with real-life issues and large philosophical ideas, ethics is one of the most popular courses at SPC.  But these summer sections come with a twist:  each is taught focusing on a different societal issue.

On the Clearwater Campus, Dr. Melissa Coakley will teach a section called Ethics and the Environment, section #1468.  Dr. Coakley, who is a philosopher by training, is a passionate defender of the environment.  She teaches a community course on Ethics and the Environment at the Moccasin Lake Nature Preserve.  She and her husband also run a turtle/tortoise rescue ranch.  Students in the course will speak with environmental professionals as well as visiting some of our beautiful Florida environment.  Dr. Coakley promises to include her reptile show on the Moccasin Lake visit.

On the St. Petersburg Gibbs Campus Professor Christian Moriarty will teach a different section, #115, which focuses on Ethics and Social Justice. For this class, students will visit the Holocaust Museum and address social issues like homelessness, due process, and workplace issues in the context of both ethics and law.

Classes begin June 13 and continue through July 22. Interested students can contact the Applied Ethics office at 727-341-4335.