This semester Benedictine College is offering a one-credit discovery seminar course entitled: “Discovering Atchison: Beyond the BC Bubble.”

The Discovery seminar meets every Monday from 4:00-4:50pm.

The course has two objectives: to ignite curiosity about the Atchison community and to engage in a commitment to the community.

Junior Mass Communications and Journalism major Jessica Luna was invited to take the seminar through the Service Learning program.

“I’ve been here for three years and my knowledge of Atchison is very low, that’s upsetting because I have a year and a half left,” Luna said.

English department Professor Julie Bowen grew up in Atchison, moved away for higher education, but later returned to teach at the College.

“I hear students make derogatory comments about Atchison and it became very clear to me that there was a disconnect between the Benedictine College community and the Atchison community,” Bowen said.

Both Bowen and Luna attribute the disconnect, often called the ‘Benedictine Bubble,’ to the nature of the residential college lifestyle.

Throughout the semester, students are required to complete a Service Learning opportunity within the community amounting to four service hours as well as a reflection upon their experience.

“If it’s [Atchison] not what you want it to be, then stop complaining and make it what you want it to be,” Bowen said.

The seminar is a collaborative multi-disciplinary effort produced by Dr. Julie Bowen, Coordinator of Service Learning Meredith Stoops, Director of the Student Success Center Janet Wilcox, Biology Professor Virginia Winder, and History Professor Dr. Josh Wolf.

“From a student’s experience, you get a richer experience because you get wider areas of expertise,” Dr. Julie Bowen said. “You also get to see us modeling curiosity; I don’t know all the historical details of Atchison, but Josh [Dr. Wolf] does.”

The course curriculum features lessons in the geology, history, socioeconomic makeup, key figures, and multiple field trips around Atchison. 

One of the field trips includes a ride on the Atchison trolley.

“I see the trolley around, but I never think to get on it,” Luna said. “It’s something offered in the community, but we never think we should get on.”

Whether it is the Atchison trolley tour, a visit to Independence Creek or a stop at Amelia Earhart’s home, over 18 Benedictine College students will be learning, serving and visiting spots all over Atchison.

“Benedictine has a lot to offer, but the Atchison community definitely has a lot to offer the students of Benedictine,” Luna said.