As we begin another journey around the sun, we have much to be hopeful for in 2024. Students in higher education are now becoming increasingly connected to classmates and professors as many institutions of higher learning resume not only face-to-face instruction in the classroom setting, but also the operations of many campus organizations that provide students with valuable opportunities to reconnect and reengage. After the many challenges of the last few years, it is heartening to see more students networking, engaging in field experiences, and exploring their communities. Of course, with increased professional and community integration for students in higher education, we are also seeing an increase in opportunities for community-based research and service learning. The pandemic, the conflicts we are seeing domestically and abroad, the fragility of our economy…all of these things are contributing to rapid change and a general sense of instability for many. But amid these challenges, 2024 can be a chance for us to strengthen the fabric of our relationships and our communities.
We as a journal are committed to sharing the research and the stories of those who dare to strengthen the fabric. As you continue to learn from each other and the world around you, you will give of yourself in ways that empower you. You will bring hope and inspiration to others, and in return, you will gain more than you thought possible. Bring to us the stories of what you learn out there in the world, whether through data or anecdotes. It is these stories that fuel the drivers of change.
As always, we are grateful for your readership and your academic contributions to the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research. Please enjoy this year’s first issue, and kick off 2024 with high hopes and renewed vigor!
Dr. Amelia Huelskamp and Dr. Jenn Vanderminden