The service-learning approach as a tool to improve sustainability in houses of a Mayan community
Service-learning is a hands-on educational approach where students apply the knowledge they acquire in the classroom, while serving in a community. This paper reports the results of applying this approach at the University of Yucatán. During 2014, a “Social Project” was developed in the community of Yaxunah (“Green house”, in Mayan language), Yucatán. Students from several disciplines (engineering, architecture, medicine, biology, social service and agro-ecology) followed an ecosystem approach to improve the health and the environment of the community. The specific goal was to improve the backyards (here after referred as patios) of the houses in the community. In the Mayan culture, the patio is the family’s reunion center, since it has several purposes. In this space are located: the kitchen, bathroom, garden, pet area, and, in many instances, livestock. Faculty, students and community partners worked closely together over six months, finding the best ways to improve their patios and houses using local materials, and their own labor, while taking care of the environment. After the project’s completion, members of the community reported their experiences as a very productive one, helping them to maintain the patios’ sustainability and family health. Participating students answered a questionnaire, reporting that their learning experience was very rewarding.
- All contributor(s) agree to transfer the copyright of this article to EPH Journal.
- EPH Journal will have all the rights to distribute, share, sell, modify this research article with proper reference of the contributors.
- EPH Journal will have the right to edit or completely remove the published article on any misconduct happening.