Fall SLT Seek Innovative Forms of Service


Elizabeth Perry, Photography Editor

The fall semester for service learning teams came to an end just before Thanksgiving break. Three teams met twice a week for eight weeks and focused on different objectives:   sustainability, menstrual equity, and planning for an upcoming Civics Day in January. The Sustainability team implemented a start to a new recycling program at Poly, the Menstrual Equity team held a menstrual product drive where they donated the proceeds to One Love Community Fridge, and the Civics team organized and planned a Civics Day event for January 25th, 2023. 


The Sustainability Service Learning Team, led by juniors Shriya Nanduru and Nikash Khanna began a pilot program for paper recycling in November, following two years without any form of recycling on campus. The program will act as a test run to begin the process of fully bringing recycling back to Poly’s campus. 

“The DSNY just opened up recycling for us. If we are able to give a clean stream of clean paper, they will take it, and that way we can start recycling,” said Nanduru. The service learning team was able to bring back a former aspect of sustainability at Poly and educate the student body during an assembly in early November. 

“Our goal is to eventually get to the point where we have paper recycling in every classroom and plastic recycling as well. But so far it is just an ongoing program,” said Nanduru. 

“The students were coming away more positive, more optimistic, and more aware of how you get stuff done. The paper is great, but changing the way that people see the world is more important,” said Director of Service Learning and Faculty Advisor of the Sustainability service learning team Elijah Sivin.


Menstrual Equity

The Menstrual Equity Service Learning Team held a menstrual product drive from October 26th to November 4th 2022. The team collected pre-packaged menstrual products including various types of pads, tampons, as well as sanitary napkins and gallon ziplock bags at several locations around campus. The proceeds of the drive are going to One Love Community Fridge, a service organization Poly often partners with. 

` The team was also able to educate the Poly student body on menstrual equity during an assembly in late October in addition to sending out an email with information attached on menstrual equity in the United States. 

“It was more of a voluntary education but we provided an education and resources,” said Student Leader of the Menstrual Equity Service Learning Team and Senior Jen Lavagnino-Sisk.

The team focused on spreading awareness on the importance of menstrual equity as well as collecting products to help menstruating New Yorkers in need of products. 



The Civics Service Learning Team focused on organizing a Civics Day event which is planned to take place on January 25th, 2023. 

The event will consist of multiple exercises in productive political conversation, including discussion of the reason behind political beliefs. The event will showcase a speaker to address the Poly community on civics education as well as the presentation of a website created by Student leader Rory Schoenberger. 

“The second part is going to be a civics fair. We’re inviting clubs, service learning teams, and affinity groups from poly and outside organizations to explain how their organizations are related to civics related issues or politics, to help students understand how they make better change within their community” said Schoenberger. 

Differing from years past and the other service learning teams, this year the Civics Service Learning Team began their semester with the direct focus of organizing and planning the Civics Day event. This focus came from last year’s aim for a civics day that had to be delayed due to logistics.  

“I’m in conversation with Mr. Sivin right now about possibly changing the model of the Civics Service Learning Team to be going forward where students are developing civics action research projects where they are investigating issues outside of Poly,” said Faculty Advisor and Head of History Department Maggie Moslander. 


Service learning teams are driven by student interest in relevant societal issues. Sivin introduced the concept of a service learning team in the summer of 2020, with an aim for students to focus on the educational experience of service and the issues that interest them in their daily lives. “As long as the kids are learning something and as long as they are making some kind of identifiable difference in the world around them, there’s no reason that we couldn’t have these teams centered around their interests,” said Sivin. Upon a student’s completion in the participation of a service learning team, Poly’s service requirement to graduate is fulfilled. 

“A huge part of this is trying to build some optimism. If you have a goal and you have a value, you can act on it and you can get something done,” said Sivin.