In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2017 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, East Carolina University, the University of New Hampshire, Oklahoma State University, and Purdue University will now compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award – which will be announced Sunday, November 12 in Washington, DC during the APLU Annual Meeting. In this final part of a four-part series, APLU spotlights Purdue University for its work help nonprofit organizations extend their reach and improve their effectiveness through the technology-based solutions.
Technology has unlocked immense opportunities to improve lives and provide critically important services at scale. Yet nonprofit organizations often lack the technical knowledge, budget, or resources to build or buy technology-based solutions that enable them to maximize their impact. In 1995, Purdue launched its EPICS program to help fill those gaps. EPICS is an academic program that engages teams of students to tackle community problems through the development, design, delivery, and support of technology-based solutions that assist nonprofit organizations.
EPICS projects are intended to solve real-world problems and are defined in consultation with project partners from nonprofit community organizations. The program is a catalyst for change in university-community agreements, student engagement, and multidisciplinary coursework. Purdue’s EPICS program has grown to enroll over 1,100 students a year working on 147 projects that are directly impacting 83,111 people.
That work has produced an immense impact. Since the program’s creation, over 350 projects have been delivered – ranging from software that allows agencies to coordinate services and protect privacy, to a constructed wetland that purifies agricultural runoff, to an iPad app that helps autistic children communicate, to an accessible camp for children with disabilities. EPICS also created networks to support engineering-based engagement, with 35 institutions now part of the university consortium and 73 schools in the K-12 network.
Learn more about the other 2017 C. Peter Magrath Award Winner finalists.