BGSU students, faculty honored for making service part of learning
BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University faculty, staff and students’ contributions to the community and engagement with community partners was honored at the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Awards program hosted April 22 by the BGSU Office of Service-Learning and Civic Action Leaders Program.
For the first time, the office presented a Friend of the Office of Service-Learning award in honor of a group that has been particularly helpful to its efforts. This year it recognized Classified Staff Council (CSC) for it unflagging support of the MLK Jr. Day of Service Challenge, one of the office’s largest events.
“Working diligently behind the scenes, the CSC donates the materials and prepares the lunches for all 500-plus participants. The MLK Jr. Day of Service Challenge would not be possible without our many campus sponsors, and we are truly grateful for the continued support we receive from the CSC,” the office said.
In the Individual Undergraduate Student division, the Kurt E. Hofmeister Student Excellence Award went to Mykel Lindsay, who in 2012 established E.A.S.Y. Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps motivate students between grades 8-12 to further their education to a collegiate level through mentorship and presentation. E.A.S.Y Inc. currently helps students in the Metro Detroit area and will be starting its expansion to the Ohio area in the fall semester.
The graduate student recipient of the Hofmeister award was Marne Austin, communication studies, who created a team of walkers and runners to raise money for Cocoon Shelter by participating in the Glass City Marathon. She began soliciting walkers and runners in early 2012 to train with BGSU's Graduate Women's Caucus for the marathon, even creating individualized training plans for all participants, regardless of their fitness levels.
Austin also created a film, “The Muslim Women in Northwest Ohio Project,” for Women's History Month at BGSU along with a public roundtable for discussions among the participants.
Dawn Hofmeister presented both the undergraduate and graduate student awards named in her late husband’s honor.
The recipient of this year’s Student Group Excellence Award was the Chapman Learning Community, including students Alyssa Aprea, Tyler Brewer, Alexandra Carroll, Ryann Daniels, Cody Fox, Nicholas Herndon, Emily Hillyer, Karen Johnson, Ryan Jones, Shelby Leeson, Russell Miller, Kyndal Oliver, Hannah Prasse and Marissa Trevino.
The students worked with youth in the Juvenile Residential Center and learned how to use art therapy as a medium for modeling and promoting pro-social behaviors among youth offenders.
The Alumni Group Excellence Award was presented to the Veteran Engagement Group. Nominated by Dr. Brett Holden, an associate professor of theater and film, the group of veteran alumni assisted Holden in his War, Film, and the Soldier Experience course. Each of them spent a great deal of time in the classrooms assisting students with their veteran projects, and even visited homes when a family member was away on deployment. They also helped arrange and host student-veteran dinners, bringing student-veterans together with faculty, staff, and administrators.
According to Holden, “They have not only served their country during times of war, but they have helped my students better understand the veteran experience.”
The Faculty Excellence Award winner was Dr. Deborah O’Neil, an assistant professor of management, who created a capstone course for the Master of Organization Development program called Mastering Change, in which students utilize their business expertise to work with local nonprofit organizations providing comprehensive consulting services targeted at each organization’s specific needs. “Deborah’s vision has changed the way that students view direct service and has provided them opportunities they wouldn’t have without this course,” said her nominator.
Bill Thompson, an adjunct instructor in the College of Health and Human Services, was presented the Staff Excellence award for envisioning and helping create with Dr. Laura Landry-Meyer a service-learning course on listening plus The Listening Post, which has been implemented not only at BGSU but also at a Toledo homeless shelter, the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio, and at other locations. Since its inception, 74 students have become trained peer listeners.
The office also honored community partners for providing significant and powerful service-learning experiences and/or exemplary leadership in advancing the civic learning of students at BGSU.
The Community Partner Excellence Award-Organization was presented to Wood Lane, represented by Dianna Lust, Lida Campbell and Liz Sheets. Wood Lane worked with students in Advanced Photography and Senior Thesis in Photography classes taught by School of Art faculty member Lynn Whitney to help bring awareness of adults with developmental disabilities at Wood Lane to the larger community. The staff was instrumental in assisting students with the history, goals, and mission of the facility, boosting the confidence the students had in their work, and bringing students to the realization that they are making a positive difference in lives of people who are largely unseen.
The nominator stated that “Wood Lane has worked hard to promote personal and social responsibility to our students and the community, while the students are working hard to give a voice to individuals with developmental disabilities supported by Wood Lane.”
Another new award, the Community Partner Excellence Award-Individual, was presented to Stephanie Serda, director of the Perrysburg Heights Community Assoc., for collaborating with a School of Cultural and Critical Studies (SCCS) class to organize the Girl Power Empowerment Conference, designed to promote college access for young women from northwest Ohio. “Through her work at the organization, Stephanie has helped remind the students of the Mexican American community in Perrysburg Heights that is often unseen or overlooked . . . Stephanie models personal and social responsibility in the kind of work she does,” said nominator Dr. Susana Peña, SCCS director.