Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently recognized San Jacinto College South Campus sociology professor, Dr. Cheryl Fasullo, for her work developing a service-learning project for her students. MADD will be implementing this project in other schools throughout the United States. Photo credit: Andrea Vasquez, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Sociology professor’s project saves lives
Andrea Vasquez-- May 10, 2012
HOUSTON — As a sociology professor, Dr. Cheryl Fasullo requires her students to take a look at their environment to see sociology at work in their every day lives. When she implemented into her curriculum a service-learning project with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), she had no idea about the impact this education strategy would have on their lives.
“Many students become aware of the blessings they take for granted,” said Dr. Fasullo. “They get to interact with people who maybe don’t have as much as they do, or in the case with students who work with MADD, they become acutely aware of the consequences of drunk driving.”
Service learning involves taking what is learned in the classroom and applying it to real-world experiences outside in the community. Many faculty members encourage their students to volunteer for a set number of hours at a community organization that fits within their subject area. Dr. Fasullo requires her students to write two application papers incorporating concepts and terminology from the textbook while assessing their observances from their chosen nonprofit organization. Since the Fall of 2011, MADD continues to be the most requested organization her students want to volunteer with. Dr. Fasullo even had examples from some of the papers her students wrote.
“At first they hate the idea of having to do extra work outside of the classroom, but by the end of the semester, they really do have different opinions of the whole service-learning concept. They are even helping to save lives without realizing it. One of my students wrote, ‘I talked to my friend’s mother about drinking and driving, and she checked herself in to Alcoholics Anonymous for more help. I helped someone in a way I did not think possible.’ Another said, ‘If we’re not exposed to the severity of the problems in our community, there’s no way we can improve them,’” she read.
Recently, at the second annual South Campus Service Learning Workshop, Dr. Fasullo was awarded a certificate of appreciation and medallion from MADD for her efforts in developing her service-learning project with the organization. The medallion is reserved for civil service professionals such as police officers, who actively volunteer with MADD, which makes Dr. Fasullo the first civilian to receive the medal.
“Mothers Against Drunk Driving has advanced in its mission for South East Texas and the victims that we serve thanks directly to the sociology classes of Dr. Cheryl Fasullo and the community service that these students have done," said Dave Anderson, coordinator of volunteer resources for MADD. “What started as a basic need for service hours from one student has developed into a tool that over 40 students have utilized. Not only is the student learning and getting information that can save their lives, but through our program they speak to other students and people they know, and spread the message and goal of sober driving."
Anderson also commented that the service-learning program designed for Dr. Fasullo's classes is now being considered to become a national educational tool for MADD offices in the United States and Canada to utilize with college students. The program will offer an array of MADD participants ranging from victims’ families, police officers, social workers, previously convicted drunk drivers, and even funeral home directors who are willing to be interviewed by students. That data will then be used for research, improvements, and new developments of MADD’s services. “Without a doubt lives have been affected and futures of students have been saved. For that we do not hesitate to recognize and appreciate Dr. Fasullo and all the San Jac students,” said Anderson.
“Most importantly, these students are changing and saving lives in the process. Each and every one of them that have volunteered with MADD states that they will no longer drive or ride in a vehicle with another driver after drinking alcohol,” said Dr. Fasullo.
MADD is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime, and prevent underage drinking. Over the past 30 years since the organization’s inception, MADD has saved nearly 300,000 lives and counting.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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