The Academic Community Engagement (ACE) grant awards $1000 for the supplies needed to work towards a proposed project in partnership with a community organization in which the service-learning courses collaborate.
“Just as the focus of service-learning is to place equal priority on the community’s needs and the students’ learning needs, the grant also places an equal focus on the value of best practices in service-learning pedagogy to support transformative learning for students and the development of collaborative relationships designed to have a lasting impact on community,” said Lindsey Rinehart, ACE Coordinator for the Center for Service and Learning.
The collaboration of a public health course, taught by Dr. Elizabeth Claydon, with Pantry Plus More, and a leadership studies course, taught by Dr. Cheyenne Luzynski, with Milan Puskar Health Right were the best fits for the goals of this grant this year.
This fall, Dr. Claydon’s public health (PUBH) course worked with Mike Miller, Volunteer Coordinator of Pantry Plus More on the creation of recipe books to promote the importance of healthy nutrition and lifestyles to the children of Morgantown. The ACE grant will support the deepening of this project into the spring semester.
Pantry Plus More provides pantry items for twelve schools in Morgantown. This grant gives the PUBH students the materials needed for the creation of healthy recipe books. The ingredients needed for these recipes can be found in any Morgantown school pantries.
These recipe books will compliment a variety of grade levels. After two months, PUBH students will ask the children who used the recipe books about which recipe was their favorite and how the books can be better in the future. This program has great potential as new ideas from public health students are only beginning.
The second funded project is the collaboration between Dr. Cheyenne Luzynski’s leadership (LDR) service-learning capstone course and Laura Jones, Executive Director of Milan Puskar Health Right. This course strives to address the stigma around individuals identified as homeless, in Morgantown, through Photovoice.
Photovoice is a research method used to capture the world around us through photography. The use of photography in this LDR course puts viewer bias aside to have a first-person view of the daily lives of individuals in this unfortunate circumstance.
These photos will be showcased in exhibits at the WVU Mountainlair, the Morgantown Arts Center and other gallery locations. The goal of these exhibits is to educate Morgantown residents on how they can support and potentially address the needs of people experiencing homelessness and combat any negative perceptions of individuals who find themselves in this unfortunate circumstance.
LDR 401 will use the ACE grant funds for photography materials, participation costs and the reservation of gallery locations.
The Academic Community Engagement grants provide funds to these service-learning courses in hopes to support the sustainability of relationships with nonprofit organizations in Morgantown. The West Virginia University Center for Service and Learning is excited about the grant winners’ plan for the future and hopeful about the impact to the Morgantown community and the development of West Virginia University students as engaged citizens.
Contact: Beckie Boyd, Office Assistant