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May 16, 2012—Community outreach initiatives at East Carolina, Miami (OH), Colorado State and at both North Carolina State and North Carolina A&T State universities, have been selected as regional recipients of the 2012 Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. One of these projects will be awarded the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, presented annually by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
Established in 2006, the Outreach Scholarship and Magrath University Community Engagement Awards recognize four-year public universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become more deeply involved with their communities.
Winners of the awards come from four regions—South, North Central, West and the 1890 university community. Each receives a cash prize of $6,000 and moves on to compete for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award during the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at the University of Alabama Sept. 30 through Oct 2, 2012. The winner will be announced during the 125th A۰P۰L۰U Annual Meeting Nov. 11-13, 2013 in Denver, CO.
“These four projects exemplify the broad principles of outreach and engagement with the community and surrounding region embraced today by the public university community,” said Peter McPherson, president of A۰P۰L۰U. “We salute these outstanding initiatives that stand as model engagement programs for colleges and universities nationwide.”
The South region award goes to the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center at East Carolina University. The center provides a comprehensive community-based system of services to residents of Greenville, NC that address a wide-range of needs, including: educational programs, parenting classes and helping juvenile offenders return to the community. The center is used for community meetings, strategic planning and community-based research. Some of the key programs making a difference at the center include prevention and intervention in gang involvement; providing substance abuse counseling; and assistance with domestic violence, criminal activity, grief, racial disparities and unemployment. The center also provides job training and apprenticeships, social activities, health screenings, and a variety of programs for all ages. The center is a partnership between ECU, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College and other community organizations. Kerry Littlewood is the center’s executive director.
Miami University (OH) received the North Central region award for its Center for Community Engagement’s Over-the-Rhine Residency Program. Twelve students from a variety of majors - mostly white and from middle class suburban and small town backgrounds - integrate academics with a full immersion experience to live and work in the "school of social life" for a full semester in the inner city Cincinnati neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. Each week students perform 15 hours of service at one or more non-profit organizations within the community, including medical clinics, affordable housing developers, schools, homeless shelters, and advocacy groups. Architecture and interior design majors have designed and built out spaces for low and moderate income residents. The center's firm conviction is that such learning in support of broader community transformation is best served by direct social engagement that generates learning and knowledge based upon social participation within a cultural community of color. Thomas A. Dutton is program director.
Colorado State University’s Crowdsourcing, Climate Change and Student Science: The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network won the West region award. In less than 10 years, this award-winning program has grown from one local community project to a nationwide crowd-sourcing program engaging over 15,000 participants. Students of all ages at over 100 schools perform research, analyze data, and become future innovators for environmental and social issues. Although CSU hosts the network, the project belongs to the volunteers who created the database through local measurements and data input. The resulting index of rain, hail, and snow measurements is publicly available at www.cocorahs.org. Its unique approach to data collection and research has made it one of the most innovative citizen science programs in the nation. Nolan Doesken is the program’s national director.
The 1890 region award was given to North Carolina A&T State University in partnership with North Carolina State University for the program: Building a Sustainable Local Food Economy in North Carolina through Partnership and Engagement. The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), along with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences found itself in the middle of a brewing crisis between agricultural and environmental groups demanding land-grant universities do more to help protect fish and waterways from hog containment facility spills. CEFS partnered with the groups to find positive ways to alleviate conflicts and tackle the emerging environmental issues. The partnership led to the creation of NC Choices, which promotes the advancement of local, niche and pasture-based meat supply chains by facilitating educational and networking experiences for producers, processors, food professional and buyers. The project has built trust and laid the groundwork for future cooperation between the universities and engaged diverse partners, including Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, NC Farm Bureau, Environmental Defense, and many others. The partnership has since expanded to include hundreds of non-profit organizations, businesses, associations, and state agencies. John O’Sullivan heads the program.
In addition to the regional winners, the following projects were deemed exemplary and worthy of recognition:
North Central Region:
The C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award, made possible by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, includes $20,000 and a trophy. The award is named for C. Peter Magrath, president of NASULGC, now A۰P۰L۰U, from 1992-2005. During his tenure, Magrath was a leading advocate for public universities embracing the concept of outreach and community engagement.
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