Seeking to emphasize the second word in “service learning,” Warren Wilson College updated its longstanding requirement that students spend 100 hours helping in the region.

Before, Dean of Service Cathy Kramer said, students could spend every second of that pulling the invasive kudzu plant off trails near Warren Wilson’s rural North Carolina campus. A worthy cause, for sure, but one sometimes done with tunnel vision.

“You could go out, and they say, ‘Pull out the kudzu,’ and you would never know why kudzu is bad,” Kramer said. “And that’s a problem."

Kudzu-pulling enthusiasts can still attack the weed -- just not without an understanding of the bigger picture issues beyond the service.