Sociology students at St. Thomas are working with local non-profit organizations to help address issues they learn about in class.
 
Sociology 2416: Inequality in Society informs students about existing patterns of social inequality and how different forms of inequality—such as social class, gender, sexuality, and race—intersect.

The service learning component of the course provides opportunities for students to participate in social action projects related to an inequality of interest to them.
 
Professor Nathan Thompson said students benefit from theoretical and practical aspects of the class. The research part of the project helps students understand the challenges their non-profit faces, and the action portion of the project allows them to come up with creative ways of helping the organization reach its goals.
 
“They spend the first semester learning as much as they can about their non-profit and the inequality it addresses,” Thompson said. “During the second semester, students take what they learned and use it in community-based volunteer initiatives and advocacy work.”

Sociology student Sara Nason’s group chose to work with Meals on Wheels Fredericton. They gained insight into how the non-profit works and the service it provides to many members of the community by meeting with the organization’s president.

The students organized a yard sale fundraiser and designed posters to recruit volunteer drivers to the organization.
 
Ashlyn Kennedy’s group worked with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre (FSAC).
 
“We chose FSAC because our group shares strong feelings related to sexual assault education, prevention, and awareness,” Kennedy said.
 
For their community action project, the group hosted a march against sexual assault and a panel, which featured student and faculty speakers.
 
Despite the diversity of paths and topics within the course, students share a common takeaway from the experience: learn more, so you can do more.
 
“This class is full of like-minded people who believe in equality and want to learn about how we can change as a society.”
 
Other student groups in the course partnered with organizations such as the Salvus Clinic in Moncton, NB, AIDS New Brunswick, and the Oromocto Food and Clothing Bank.