Education/Newsletter/January 2013/Pilot program for Mexican university students working with Wikipedia to satisfy community service requirement

By Andrea Vega (User:AndiieVga) For the January-May 2013 semester, Tec de Monterrery- Campus Ciudad de México will start a pilot program to allow students to work with the encyclopedia as part of the “social service” requirement for graduation, with the aim of making it available to the student population interested in Wikimedia.

AndiieVga explaining the Day of the Dead Wiki Style contest in October 2012

Social service (or community service) is mandatory for all university students in Mexico in order to receive their bachelor’s degree. Social service at Tecnológico de Monterrey is focused on making students work on their civil participation inside their communities using opportunities to make them take initiative in the improvement of their country. The concept of social service is obligatory in Mexico for all college students, who have to do a minimum of 480 hours.

Last December, I proposed working with Wikipedia in the areas of my major of political science and this proposal was accepted. The focus is reaching to several political institutions to get collaborations, either in media files or information, as well as writing two 1000-word articles relating to the political science. I expect to use my experience and observations to work on the social service proposal so that we can present it to more students on the Fall Semester and start building a group of collaborators with individual projects that help Wikimedia, the university and the collaborating institutions.

Most of the effort will be outreach to political institutions and organization, not only to improve Wikipedia’s content on Mexican politics, but also to give me experience in negotiating with these entities, promote open culture initiatives and transparency as well as promote the design of Wikipedia projects based on students’ interests and major.

I have worked with Wikipedia since students projects initiated on Tec de Monterrey-Campus Ciudad de México campus in 2011 and have experience in reaching out to institutions for collaboration.I expect that this project will let me keep on building contacts in the most relevant political organizations and learning more about my major and I also expect I can keep on learning about the complex community that makes the Wikimedia Foundation. I’m also really excited to improve the proposal for next semester’s social service to make other student’s interest and make the Wikimedia community on campus even bigger. In fact, since December I have already met other students interesting in working with Wikipedia for their social service!