UL SYSTEM WINS $1.2 MILLION GRANT FOR SERVICE PROJECTS TO HELP LOUISIANA

UL SYSTEM WINS $1.2 MILLION GRANT FOR SERVICE PROJECTS TO HELP LOUISIANA - Jun 23, 2006

The University of Louisiana System has won a grant worth $1.2 million over the next three years to further develop service-learning on eight campuses as part of classroom work.

“Service-learning is lifelong learning,” said UL System President Dr. Sally Clausen. “Studies show that when service is a component of classroom learning, students are more likely to stay in school, graduate and become engaged in their communities throughout their lives.”

Olinda Ricard, Nicholls SGA president and ULS Student Advisory Council Coordinator of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, said the grant will help students get involved in service projects. “These funds will allow universities to create more opportunities within their curricula to involve students in service projects. Students, our nation’s future leaders, are committed to serving their communities.”

Dr. Clausen said the ULS grant is part of the System’s initiative to put more emphasis on service across its eight campuses. “Our universities are already incorporating service into some of their curricula, but we want to help them do even more. We envision that in the next few years, all ULS students will have a meaningful service experience before they graduate. These grant funds will help our universities develop even more service programs.”

The ULS grant was part of $37 million awarded nationally by the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C. ULS requested the grant to assist Louisiana’s hurricane recovery work through its campuses.

Kevin Days, Learn and Serve project coordinator, traveled to Baton Rouge today to officially present $406,340, the first award over three years, to the ULS Board of Supervisors. Days said the grant judges were impressed with ULS.

“We had more than 500 applications from across the nation, and the competition was fierce,” said Days. “Our reviewers were very impressed with the level of commitment from the UL System, particularly as faculty and students seek to help Louisiana recover from the recent hurricanes.”

Learn and Serve grants were awarded nationally to 51 state education agencies, 27 institutions of higher education, 19 school-based organizations, and 12 community organizations, said Amy Cohen, director of Learn and Serve America.

Approximately $9.1 million is being awarded to individual colleges, university systems or consortia to develop courses, co-curricular programs, and faculty research designed to meet community needs and carry out partnerships with their surrounding communities, Cohen said.

Dr. Clausen said the System is preparing criteria for the ULS universities to apply to share in the grant funding. The applications will be judged in part by the ULS Council on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement review committee, primarily comprised of faculty representatives from each of the ULS universities.

Eight universities are eligible to participate: Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. Rory Bedford, director of Service-Learning at Grambling and co-chair of the ULS Council on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement review committee, said, “We applaud the system board and staff for having the vision to promote service-learning as a teaching tool that will better prepare our students for civic responsibility. This is a wonderful opportunity for the students and faculty.”

Dr. Greg Granger, associate professor of political science at Northwestern and co-chair of the ULS Council on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement review committee, said, “Students learn so much from these opportunities, such as valuing civic engagement, working with others, and gaining practical experience from hands-on education.”

Cohen said the goal of Learn and Serve America is to “engage students, educators, community partners and other volunteers of all ages and backgrounds in service and service learning to meet community needs, enhance education and increase civic participation.

The organization has three major goals for 2010, Cohen said:
• Raise from 40 percent to 60 percent the involvement of youth from disadvantaged circumstances
• Engage 5 million college students
• Increase from 33 percent to more than 50 percent the involvement of public schools

Learn and Serve America is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which also oversees Senior Corps and AmeriCorps. The Corporation’s mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Together with the USA Freedom Corps, the Corporation is working to build a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility in America. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov .

For a full list of grants, visit www.learnandserve.gov .


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PHOTO CUTLINE:

Kevin Days, Learn and Serve project coordinator from Washington, D.C. (second from left) visited Baton Rouge on Friday to present the first installment of a $1.2 million, three-year grant for service-learning projects at eight campuses of the University of Louisiana System. Pictured receiving the grant on behalf of the system are (left to right) Dr. Brad O’Hara, ULS Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Provost; ULS System President Dr. Sally Clausen; and ULS Board of Supervisors Chairman Jimmy Long of Natchitoches. The eight universities that will be eligible to apply to share in the funding are Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
 
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