Imagine taking the skills you’ve built in your classes and getting to apply them to real projects that will benefit the community. Students enrolled in a unique West Virginia University multidisciplinary studies course this semester are doing just that as they participate in a service-learning project that has them partnered with Morgantown city officials.

Multidisciplinary Studies 489 is a capstone course that emphasizes the advantages of graduating with a broad educational background and teaches students to apply their skills through a service-learning project.

Taught by Andrea Soccorsi, teaching instructor in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies program, the class splits students into two groups.

The first group is working with the BAD-to-Better Buildings team to create an inventory of abandoned, dilapidated and condemned residential buildings in Morgantown. They will work with data creation, data entry, photo databases, geographic information systems mapping. Students’ work and research will help city officials identify which properties can be renovated or demolished.

Students in the second group are working with the Morgantown Department of Public Works and Engineering to collect data on the conditions of streets in Morgantown. These students will collate the data in a way that will help city officials identify which areas of Morgantown have the most infrastructure issues and which roads and streets need to be given priority.

Service-learning projects in the multidisciplinary studies program are designed to be a part of an experiential education initiative, Soccorsi said.

“I want [students] to see the way their multidisciplinary studies degree can inform an understanding about what they bring to the table in terms of their careers and professionalization,” Soccorsi said. “But also the ways in which service-learning translates into real world changes and transformation.”

Students in these classes will have to gain 30 community service hours, which will be tracked through the WVU Center for Service and Learning’s iServe system.



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Director of Marketing and Communication, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, 304-293-6867,

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.