Busy baristas making coffee, students lounging by the fireplace, and “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas playing on in the background: this was what the HEDCO Education building resembled at the University of Oregon on a sunny Friday afternoon.
Amidst the beautiful architecture and the coffee shop, the “Education Station” sat a student chatting with the baristas about Math 212 and how someone cheated on the final, playing on her iPhone, and eating a lollipop.
Senior sociology major and special education minor, Sarah Wilson, talks about her favorite part of HEDCO, the fireplace, and reminisces over sitting by it and watching a snowstorm in the middle of March. Being a special education minor, barista for the “Education Station,” and avid user of the “Learning Commons” to get tutored for math, Wilson spends up to five or more hours per week in HEDCO.
Although not an education studies major, Wilson still loves education and is working towards applying for a masters program in general education and special education.
Coming to the University of Oregon, Wilson did not know what she wanted to study. After meeting with an advisor, she realized that she enjoyed and had been doing well in all her sociology classes and decided to declare.
Working in a classroom last fall, Wilson took notice to some children in her classroom with special education needs who were not being fully included in all classroom activities. After spending time with these students, she realized that she wanted to work with them and stress the importance of their involvement with the other students as beneficial.
She believes that it is not only important for the special needs kids to be involved, but that it helps the other kids understand and accept the learning differences and disabilities that others may have. This experience led her to a special education minor and her quest to earn her masters in education.
Wilson, like many others swarming around HEDCO, seems to be part of an education department family. Friendly faces say hello, people ask others for assistance, and everyone appears connected. The working baristas talk to Wilson about their math classes, professors, and working schedules. Wilson finishes her lollipop as she gets ready for her next class at 3:00 and jokes about not understanding Twitter or blogging in any way, which luckily she says she has not had to use in any of her classes, unlike most of the journalism courses.
Walking out into a courtyard, students begin to shuffle to and from class on a surprisingly sunny afternoon. Just as Wilson’s demeanor exuded, the education department continued its lively output of friendliness, interaction, and learning.