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Service Learning Programs Get Boost from ULS

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University of Louisiana System students will provide free health screenings for rural communities; help middle school students improve math, reading, and writing skills; and restore, document, and promote unique elements of Louisiana's culture. These are just some examples of the 29 service-learning projects awarded grants totaling $618,291 at today's ULS Board meeting.

“ The caliber of projects being funded is a testament to the leadership of our university presidents and the commitment of their faculty to make service-learning a priority,” said UL System President Sally Clausen. “It is a significant step toward our goal for all students to have a meaningful service-learning experience before they graduate.”

The awards are the first phase of a three-year, $1.2 million initiative called “ULS Serves” to increase service-learning at the UL System's eight campuses. Funding is made possible by Learn and Serve America, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C.

Each recipient must match grant funds on a one-to-one basis, making the total investment in service-learning over $1 million. Below is a list of the funds awarded:

• Grambling State University: $60,000

• Louisiana Tech University: $53,735

• McNeese State University: $30,000

• Nicholls State University: $81,913

• Northwestern State University: $15,000

• Southeastern Louisiana University: $63,519

• University of Louisiana at Lafayette: $250,194

• University of Louisiana at Monroe: $63,930

Grant recipient and University of Louisiana at Lafayette faculty member Charles Richard's comments at today's meeting spoke to the added value of service-learning to classroom work.

“ Often the best instruction students gain is from each other. They look at service-learning not only as service but also meaningful, lasting learning,” said Richard, whose project will allow students to promote tourism through the Acadiana Food and Folklore Media Initiative.

“ Students who connect to their communities through service become better citizens, ” said UL System Board Chair Jimmy Long. “The potential impact of such a wide variety of projects and experiences bodes well for Louisiana's future.”


Acadiana Food & Folklore Media Initiative: Preserving Culture and Promoting Tourism Recovery
Project Director: Charles Richard
Partnering the Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission with UL Lafayette's Cinematic Arts Workshop, the Center for Cultural & Ecotourism, South Louisiana Community College, and the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High School to study, document, conserve, and promote unique Louisiana cultural assets.

Building Hope: Service-Learning Initiative of UL Lafayette Building Institute & Boys & Girls Clubs
Project Director: W. Geoff Gjertson
Partnering UL Lafayette architecture students with Boys & Girls Club members, community members, local business leaders and professional architects to build an architectural feature and develop a master plan to increase the Boys & Girls Club capacity.

Cajun Comrades
Project Director: Peter Sheppard
Partnering UL Lafayette teacher education candidates with the UL Lafayette Center for Child Development and the Louisiana Office of Public Health to provide mentoring and academic assistance to Lafayette Parish K-8 schools with a focus on enhancing math skills.

Construction and Enhancement of the Living Wetlands Learning Center at Lafayette Middle School

Project Director: Griff Blakewood
Partnering UL Lafayette students with Lafayette Middle School to create outdoor learning environmental classrooms focusing on coastal ecology and restoration.

Project FIT: Fitness Through Intergenerational Teamwork
Project Director: Claire Foret
Partnering Kinesiology and Dietetic students with the Lafayette General Medical Center and Lafayette Parish schools to develop nutrition and fitness programs linking children and older adults.

ReNEW: A Service-Learning Initiative of UL Lafayette
Project Director: W. Geoff Gjertson
Partnering the UL Lafayette School of Architecture, Building Institute, Art Education Program and Department of Visual Arts with the Acadiana Outreach Center where students and community volunteers and homeless clients will transform donated materials into functional and artistic items.

Study of Mold and Moisture Control in South Louisiana Construction in the Aftermath of 2005 Hurricanes
Project Director: Herbert Hebert
Conducting comprehensive testing of hurricane-affected homes for moisture and mold damage with a goal of recommending advances in technology to create more energy efficient and safe housing materials.

The Deep South Festival of Writers
Project Director: Dayana Stetco
Partnering UL Lafayette students with area high school students to reinstate the 42-year-old tradition of the Deep South Festival of Writers after a 4-year absence. The festival will teach students how to cope with and reflect on traumatic events through art and writing.

Writing in the Galleries
Project Director: Judd Jeansonne
Partnering UL Lafayette AmeriCorps students with the University Art Museum and hurricane impacted Title I elementary schools to improve writing skills of students through art appreciation.