Humanities on the Palouse Participates in
National Day of Service

By: Esmeralda Solis Garcia

Inequity is something that is present in many different communities. However, with the help of the newly founded Humanities on the Palouse (HOP) program, WSU students can help these marginalized groups and build their humanities and art-based skills while participating in compensated internships.

The primary mission of HOP is to place WSU humanities and arts students in compensated internship opportunities at organizations in the Palouse area that surrounds Washington State University. Compensation for participation in HOP is provided in the form of an educational stipend administered at the end of service by AmeriCorps. The HOP internships are focused on exploring the link between skills developed in Humanities and Arts coursework and the professions. Skills like critical and creative thinking, adaptation, information literacy, social responsibility, working with diverse groups, empathy, writing, public speaking, translation, textual analysis, teamwork, and leadership. A secondary goal is to address inequity in compensated internship opportunity for women, students of color, queer students, and other marginalized populations.

HOP founder and faculty leader Ruth Gregory states “I read several reports that noted that uncompensated internships did not help a student place into the professions at nearly the same rate at those who did a compensated internship during their time in college. I wanted to address that inequity since service-learning is a major part of the Department of Digital Technology and Culture.”

In addition to their service at regional sites, AmeriCorps members also come together to do group service projects.  On January 17, 2022, the Humanities on the Palouse group and advisor Ruth Gregory came together to serve at the Inland Oasis West Side Food Pantry on  the National Day of Service to honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. During their time there, the HOP Members got an orientation to the food-pantry, helped paint the walls for the drop-in center, and got some time to talk with members of Inland Oasis about their programs. HOP members also brainstormed with the Inland Oasis about future projects and events for the communities in the Palouse. Also, on hand were additional student volunteers from the WSU Center of Civic Engagement. Together the students and Inland Oasis volunteers put several coats of primer and paint on the walls of the drop-in center.

HOP Member and Inland Oasis Drop-In Center Coordinator Nick Kawaguchi states, “I never noticed that MLK Jr. Day was a service day. I always thought of it as just a day off from school.”

Teamwork, organization, and communication between each member of the HOP team made this day an amazing experience and surely put each student’s skills to work.

More information about the Humanities on the Palouse Program is on their webpage.