Community Service at The Ohio State University: Honor Roll 2007
This page recognizes outstanding service-learning and community service by Ohio State students, faculty, and staff. The following stories were gathered as part of Ohio State’s application for the 2007 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The OHIO Project (Oral Health Improvement through Outreach)
OSU’s fourth-year dentistry students provide over 27,000 procedures for more than 12,000 Ohioans who are on some form of public assistance or qualified for a sliding fee scale based on income. The class of 2007 served for 40 days in 23 family health centers and dental clinics throughout Ohio in an apprenticeship experience supervised by licensed dentists. This student service enabled these sites to reach more underserved patients, improving access to dental care. Services included routine and emergency exams, prophylaxes, sealants, operative procedures, restorations, routine extractions, rotary endodontics, oral examination, radiography, fluoride treatment, restorative dentistry (fillings), complete or partial dentures, and pediatric dental services. This represents an estimated $1.2 million in oral health care services. The OHIO Project enables students to develop awareness of the oral health needs of Ohioans, build stronger relationships with practice colleagues, and practice community dentistry. In addition, the project focuses on recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities in dentistry. More
SERV Team (Students Engaged in Responsible Volunteering)
The SERV Team is a group of 20 students who commit 1 year to leading large-scale service projects on campus. A total of 4,777 students served 28,815 hours in 12 events: Community Commitment; Servapalooza; Make a Difference Day; World Aids Day; Alternative Winter, Spring, and Summer Breaks; MLK Day of Service; Shadow a Student Day; Access to Public Health Care; Nonprofit Career Fair; and Rock the Block. A representative event is Community Commitment. In its 11th year, Community Commitment, one of the largest single-day student-led community service projects on a college campus in the nation, attracted 1,573 students who spent 5,112 hours performing 50 service projects. Community Commitment day also included a community service-specific involvement fair to inform students of ongoing service opportunities. Community organizations, neighborhood residents, and foster children benefited from the broad impact of hundreds of volunteers tackling a wide variety of projects at once. The event familiarizes students, especially freshmen, with the campus-area community, enabling them to make connections for future volunteer work. More
Ohio State’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists organizes and conducts blood glucose and hypertension screenings and a middle-school educational program through Operation Diabetes. In 2006-07, 3 student chairs and 45 student volunteers screened 384 adults at five sites, providing education about diabetes and referring to physicians those who had high glucose or blood pressure readings. Recognizing the growing trend of diabetes in adolescents, student pharmacists collaborated with the Central Ohio Diabetes Association to create an interactive diabetes presentation on juvenile diabetes, a skit describing the pathway of sugar in the body, and a discussion on the complications and prevention of the disease. In 2006-07, Operation Diabetes Education was presented by 3 student chairs and 80 student volunteers to 557 sixth graders. The pharmacy students are working with students majoring in education to improve the program and plan to expand it to additional middle schools. Operation Diabetes was recognized with the Excellence in Public Health Pharmacy Practice award from the U.S. Public Health Service and the Student Organization Award for Excellence in Community Service Programming from Ohio State’s Service-Learning Initiative. More
ReVITAlizing Neighborhoods through V.I.T.A.: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
Despite its effectiveness, more than 19,000 eligible families in Franklin County fail to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. To help low-moderate income families claim the EITC, students from OSU’s Fisher College of Business and Moritz College of Law joined forces with faculty, staff, the IRS, and Columbus City Council to offer free tax preparation services at university-operated outreach centers (Godman Guild-OSU Extension Learning Center and African-American/African Studies Extension Center). In 2006-07, V.I.T.A. volunteers served 337 individuals, yielding $600,000 in tax returns. V.I.T.A. is a national program, to which Ohio State has added innovative asset-building strategies and educational programs that helped clients save money and accumulate assets through homeownership, micro-enterprises and/or higher education, individual development accounts, and savers clubs. Because of this unique community, civic, and collegiate partnership funded by an OSU CARES/OSU Extension Seed Grant, OSU’s sites serve as models for other VITA sites and are being replicated throughout Franklin County and the state of Ohio. As a result of these efforts, the Chase Foundation has awarded over $400,000 to the United Way to help OSU’s and other VITA sites continue transforming the lives of families and communities. More
Improving Access to Healthy Food
To improve access to healthy food in areas of Columbus with high numbers of uninsured and impoverished residents, 4 undergraduates in allied medicine and 10 graduate students in public health service learning courses completed environmental scans, noting assets and barriers to a healthy lifestyle, such as access to public transportation, recreation, and social services. Undergraduates conducted food availability and cost surveys in groceries located in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Graduate students interviewed key neighborhood informants and conducted focus groups regarding perceptions of access to healthy food, eating and buying habits, and the feasibility of healthy food access strategies. Students compiled a report for the community partner, Columbus Public Health, that informed an action plan to address food access issues, inform residents about problems in the local food system, suggest strategies to bring healthier food into the community, and help the community prioritize its efforts. The information gathered by the students would have been difficult for the agency to obtain using existing personnel. Results have been widely shared with other agencies serving the area. The immediate benefit is increased interest in the issue of the availability and accessibility of healthy food and the identification of potential collaborators.
Alternative Spring Break: Serving the St. Bernard Parish Community
During Spring Break 2007, 20 student members and 2 advisers from the Habitat for Humanity-Collegiate Challenge group on Ohio State’s regional campus in Newark traveled to New Orleans to serve the St. Bernard Parish community, which is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. To finance the trip, students held fundraisers, including a spaghetti dinner, a cookout, bucketing at Wal-Mart, and selling “shares” of the experience, with a postcard sent from Louisiana to the shareholder. A local coffeehouse donated a portion of one day’s receipts. These efforts raised $7,000, augmented by a $4,500 Student Learning Grant they obtained from the Office of University Housing. In New Orleans the group moved a prebuilt house frame from the Superdome to the building site, completed finishing work on houses; constructed 600 feet of fencing as well as trusses and sheds; and made 2,000 sandwiches at Camp Hope, a gutted elementary school that housed the volunteers. Their efforts contributed to the availability of decent, affordable housing for displaced musicians and other residents of the Musicians’ Village community. More about alternative breaks.
Special Focus Area: Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances
Johnson Park Middle School-OSU Partnership
Year 3 of an intensive university-wide partnership with Columbus Public Schools’ Johnson Park Middle School (80.2% economically disadvantaged) had several multidisciplinary components. Fifteen JPMS sixth, seventh, and eighth graders participated in a unique after-school program, meeting weekly during winter quarter with four Middle Childhood Education undergraduates to create multimedia projects using the technologies of OSU’s Digital Union. The digital media projects, including i-movies and audio essays, were displayed at WOSU@COSI, the university’s public television station studio. For 2 quarters, 40 seventh-graders in language arts classes were assisted by 40 undergraduate English students in writing and designing a magazine, using e-portfolios through the Open Source Portfolio Project. Eighty JPMS students enjoyed a daylong visit to OSU designed to build college aspirations and introduce them to a variety of career opportunities. Activities included (1) a presentation on diabetes awareness and pharmacy careers by 20 pharmacy students; (2) the Passport Project, a discovery activity involving Spanish culture and language facilitated by 2 Spanish/Portuguese students and 8 faculty/staff; (3) a hands-on experience designed and presented by an archaelogy student in which students reconstructed pottery from broken shards; and (4) a tour of the dance department led by an undergraduate, with dance students showing how they rehearse and produce a dance concert. More
Montaña de Luz
Engineers for Community Service (ECOS), a student organization in the College of Engineering, continued an ongoing service-learning project at Montaña de Luz, a home for 21 children with HIV/AIDS in Honduras. In summer 2006 the students installed solar power, tested water quality, and built a satellite pad for telephone and Internet service. During spring break 2007, 15 engineering students and 4 faculty members collected data about water quality, the water distribution network, site topography, system operation, and cost; prepared a report for the water board; and made improvements to the groundwater well; and 14 students in a College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) course designed projects to assess children’s growth patterns using Body Mass Index, conduct a nutrition survey of the orphanage’s cooks, and interview children about eating habits. Because of ECOS’s initiative, what began as a student organization project has become a permanent engineering service-learning course. More
To help children learn to enjoy math by improving their skills is the “Mission Possible” undertaken by OSU Mansfield students. Ten Master of Education graduate students in autumn quarter and 5 graduate students winter quarter tutored K-7 students weekly at the Culliver Reading Center, which provides standards-based after-school programs for disadvantaged youth. They observed, recorded, and analyzed the most frequent math errors and misconceptions. In spring quarter, graduate students shared findings with 62 undergraduates enrolled in three math content courses related to elementary-level mathematics teaching. Undergraduates developed lesson plans targeting the errors, aligned the plans with state standards, and incorporated instructional strategies based on best practice research. The student volunteers helped create an environment that reinforced Culliver’s efforts to make learning fun. As a result of this program, Culliver and OSU are developing a regular volunteer program for the center, which will provide field placement for undergraduates in Freshman Early Experience.
Wonders of Our World
WOW is an interactive science education program serving 15 elementary schools in 3 districts in the Columbus, Ohio area. WOW staff and faculty have developed more than 125 hands-on experiments designed to increase both students’ knowledge and interest in science at a young age. Ohio State student volunteers, as well as scientists and parent volunteers, go into the classrooms to present the experiments. These students represent more than 50 majors campuswide, not just in the sciences. Student volunteers, who have been trained in workshops similar to those provided to the teachers, help the teachers facilitate experiments that teach basic concepts of the physical and biological sciences, and they provide more individual assistance to the students. The program’s experiments are correlated with state test standards for K-5 science. Schools involved with W.O.W. have seen dramatic improvement in the percentage of students passing the science section of the state proficiency test. The program has recently expanded into a middle school and Metro High School, a cooperative venture of Battelle and Ohio State, as well as its first extension site near Muskingum College in New Concord, and it has attracted international interest. More
The Miracle-Gro Capital Scholars @ COSI Program
The Center for Science and Industry has an intensive partnership with Ohio State that provides opportunities for student volunteers. In the award-winning Miracle-Gro Capital (MGC) Scholars program, 50 high school students from disadvantaged circumstances participated in after-school and summer activities, academic coaching, and social support. Five OSU students tutored Scholars weekly during the academic year, engaging them in activities that prepared them for high school graduation and postsecondary education. OSU’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) hosted the Scholars Jr. NSBE Chapter in a day of student-shadowing. Scholars were paired with an OSU engineering student to expose them to college education and encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math careers. An undergraduate intern in OSU’s Center for Family Research, which is evaluating the project, conducted interviews with MGC Scholars and staff and used results to implement Growing Up FAST workshops for the teens and their parents in which they developed a family definition of successful adulthood and listed behaviors to achieve it. She also created a journal used by the families to promote positive communication and parental support of teens’ autonomy.
A Steering Committee composed of 18 students, a staff advisor, and a graduate student advisor spent a year planning and organizing BuckeyeThon, a 14-hour dance marathon that benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. This group met weekly for most of the year and had five other large fundraisers/awareness events leading up to the dance marathon. In 2007, 320 dancers registered and raised over $60,000 for the hospital. In 2008, they more than doubled the number of dancers to 645. The event is often billed as a “party with a purpose” because it is a substance-free event that allows OSU students to become better known for their positive work for the community. It also provides students opportunities to develop leadership and fundraising skills. In its eight years of existence the event has raised over $250,000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The money supports the care of children whose families do not have the means to pay for hospital services. More