Assisting People in Planning Learning Experiences in Service celebrated its 10-year anniversary Wednesday on Polk Place, handing out free cake and lollipops along with a message of service and learning.
"We wanted to open up the 10-year party to the whole campus," said APPLES service-learning program President Ann Quarles. "The students have invested a lot in our program, and we wanted to show our appreciation."
The party was organized primarily by seniors Rebekah Butler and Kate Dickson, public relations co-chairwomen for APPLES.
APPLES was created in 1990 by a group of undergraduate students who were involved with the Campus Y. The students wanted to combine their community service activities with their academic lives.
"It started with an idea to integrate service with learning," said Quarles, a senior. "And it happened - they formed a meaningful program."
In spring 1991, a year after the idea was first developed, six service-learning courses were implemented, and the student body passed a referendum to fund the project.
"It essentially gained key University, faculty and student support, which allowed it to become a program," Quarles said.
APPLES has grown over the years and now serves as the umbrella organization for four different programs. The largest APPLES program is the Service-Learning Course Program, which involves about 400 students per semester in 16 service-learning courses. Each course requires three to five hours per week of volunteer work at local public and nonprofit organizations.
APPLES also offers the Paid Internship Program, Alternative Spring Break and the Social Entrepreneurship Program.
Anne Koenig, senior Alternative Spring Break co-leader, said APPLES can be a valuable experience for anyone. "When I came to college I was looking for something service-oriented to do, and I tried out a lot of the service programs," she said. "APPLES has the academic component, which I think is amazing. You get the credit and recognition from the school itself for doing service-oriented projects."
Some students passing by the celebration said APPLES was effective in achieving its promotional goal.
"It looks really nice, and it's good that they're giving food because it attracts students," said Chris Liang, a freshman from Winston-Salem.
"This is a good way to publicize it, because I don't think a lot of students know about it."
Mary Morrison, the director of APPLES, emphasized that the organization is completely student-run.
"We are a student-initiated and student-run program, and it makes us unique among service-learning programs across the country," Morrison said. "I didn't do anything for this party today. The students organized it, and I just showed up."
Quarles said it is important for students to encourage other students to get involved. "We're trying to send the message that it's important for college students to use the knowledge they gain in the classroom for service in the real world."
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