The Service-Learning Course Grants Program works to support new and developing service-learning courses that address community needs and have the potential for a long-term, sustainable impact on their communities. Courses supported by these grants are selected by experienced service-learning faculty and exemplify innovative ways to make service an essential part of an academic curriculum. We are pleased to share that through the support of the Office of Outreach and Engagement and the Office of Undergraduate Education, we have been able to leverage over $18,000 into 6 service-learning offerings for the 2013-2014 school year.
Working to Understand how Population, Place and Environment are Defined and Influenced by Urban Agriculture with Over the Fence Urban Farm (Kerry Ard, School of Environment and Natural Resources)
This course focuses on understanding demographics related to environmental issues, rural life, migration, conflicts, disaster, and resource-based development. Students will be specifically focused on understanding how concepts traditionally related to rural life, like agriculture and tight-knit communities, have been adopted by the urban agricultural movement and the effects of this adoption. Class objectives will involve examining the motivating factors behind this transition, such as the role of industrial disasters in prompting distrust of agribusiness and large corporations amongst the general public, as well as the migration of families back into urban cores. Service activities will include working on the farm, mapping the food system of the area in order to understand where yields are being grown and distributed and the demographics of populations served. In addition, students will administer surveys to CSA members and analyze resulting data in order to understand the impact of local agriculture on health outcomes, the food system, and the varying definitions of “local”, “organic”, “community”, “agriculture”, and “sustainable”.
Environmental Sustainability in the Caribbean (Joe Bonnel, School of Environment and Natural Resources)
The primary objective of this course is to increase students’ understanding of the driving forces that both promote and undermine efforts to develop more sustainable environmental practices in the developing world. Students will have the opportunity to observe first-hand the complex interrelatedness of geography, national and international policy, culture, agriculture, and environment. Students will be challenged to evaluate tradeoffs between short-term and long-term goals and reconciling the quest for economic growth with the growing call for more sustainable use of natural resources and protection of ecosystem services.
Centro para el Desarrollo Agropecuario y Forestal (Center for Agricultural and Forestry Development) or CEDAF, a private nonprofit foundation established in 1987 to promote sustainable agriculture and forestry, will help provide opportunities for students to work with staff and local communities to assess the impacts of current programming and to identify strategies for expanding or improving programs.
Ethnoscape Columbus: an anthropological model for service learning (Jeffery H. Cohen, Department of Anthropology)
This summer term course focuses on the growth of the Latino community in Columbus, Ohio. Students will define and develop ethnoscapes of the city’s Latino community through a combination of classroom training; qualitative, quantitative and geo-spatial inquiry; guided data analysis and formal presentations.
Ethnoscapes capture cultural practices, social demography and spatio-geographic boundaries of groups using multiple methodologies and are applied here to the growth of the Latino community in Columbus, Ohio. OSU Faculty and community partners from the Latino Affairs commission will work with OSU students and train them. Our investigations, built around the combination of ethnographic inquiry, census analysis and GIS will culminate in ethnoscapes of Latino Columbus that describe the community and map its growth over time.
Developing sustainable community partnerships with Latino serving organization in the Central Ohio area(Elena Foulis, Spanish and Portuguese)
The context for this course is the Spanish-speaking communities of Columbus, Ohio. In class, guest speakers from the community discuss their work, life experiences, and career opportunities. Out of class, students go into the community to practice their Spanish skills with native and heritage speakers and apply their knowledge of the Latino culture and demographics as they work with various Latino serving organizations.
Ohio Hispanic Coalition’s mission and vision is to “improve the well- being and quality of life of all Latinos through advocacy, education, training and access to quality services” and to “creating collaborative partnerships in order to promote general awareness, including social, educational and economic advancement of Ohio’s Latino population.” This is at the heart of the Spanish in Ohio class. While this organization provides different services to the community including, ESL and citizen classes, afterschool programs with a language and cultural maintenance emphasis, health education, and others, our focus will be the afterschool program because it seems the most feasible option for a larger number of students to participate and make a difference
Follow the Tomato: Exploring Community Food Security Strategies to Address Social and Environmental Justice Issues in the Food System (Michelle Kaiser, College of Social Work)
This is a service‐learning course that will use a variety of methods to integrate academic learning with service that benefits community partners. Teaching methods will incorporate discussions, lectures, guest speakers, civic engagement activities, readings, and community‐based action research to explore the complex and interrelated issues of social and environmental justice in the food system from a variety of perspectives. We will do this by following the tomato from the farm/garden to the plate to further explore community food security strategies intended to reduce hunger, create sustainable food systems, alleviate poverty through economic opportunities, improve access to healthy food options, and enhance social, physical, and spiritual well‐being.
This course uses an interdisciplinary community food security (CFS) framework. CFS strategies work in conjunction with anti‐hunger strategies to support local food systems, build on community resources, develop multi‐sector partnerships, protect and promote human health, identify sustainable food resources, and seek ways to provide social equity (Winne, Joseph, & Fisher, 1997). CFS draws on geography, nutrition, social work, sociology, public health, nutrition, public policy, planning, among other associated disciplines.
Locations of service include: the Franklinton Gardens, Feed Old Town East Garden, local communities, and Mid-Ohio Food bank.
Pay-It-Forward Marion/ Pay-It-Forward Delaware (Stuart Lishan, College of Humanities)
The Pay-It-Forward Marion program was first established in 2010 with a Pay-It-Forward Grant from Ohio Campus Compact (funded through the Learn-and-Serve America Foundation) and continued through the 2012-14 academic years with an Outreach and Engagement Grant from OSU. Its purpose is to promote civic engagement in a number of first-and-second-year writing classes. This is done through improving the local community through skill-based service and philanthropy will be worked into the course content and learning outcomes in. In concert with the United Way, a community partner, students in these writing classes will volunteer at community organizations proposing projects that address student-identified needs areas; engage in research to assess the needs of the community; establish funding criteria; analyze grant proposals and budgets; research local nonprofits through interviews with community members; and, in the process, develop writing, decision-making, public speaking, accounting, collaboration, and evaluation skills.