SWEEP Funding

The Learn and Serve grant increased opportunities for academic achievement, civic engagement, and community impact in the following ways:

  1. It allowed for then-graduate student Frederique Lavoipierre to serve as coordinater for service-learning in the STEM disciplines. It also supported on-campus programs and partners in developing service opportunities for students and new and more sustainable relationships with off-campus community partners.
  2. It provided much-needed equipment upgrades and purchases.
  3. It funded the 2011 Sustainability and Community-Engagement Mini-Conference," which was designed to help faculty in STEM and other disciplines strengthen partnerships with community oganizations and with each other.
  4. It led to spontaneous new collaborations and interdisciplinary cross-collaborations.
  5. See SWEEP proposal

Coordination of Service-Learning Programs

In 2010, biology graduate student Frederique Lavoipierre was appointed service-learning coordinator for the STEM disciplines. She helped faculty purchase new equpment and design service-learning projects that inspired civic engagement. She also provided administrative support to faculty and helped match students with projects and partner organizations.

Equipment Upgrades and Purchases

According to Ms. Lavoipierre, one tremendous benefit of new equipment purchased through the grant is that it empowered outreach efforts and facilitated state-of-the-art monitoring techniques. This was especially true for the Entomology Outreach Program and for projects mentored by chemistry, biology, and engineering department faculty.

Outreach

In 2010-2011, undergraduate students shared their knowledge of insects with about twelve thousand K-12 students and community members through collaborations with Entomology Outreach partner programs.

New equipment enhanced outreach; program participants are now able to collect insects and insect larvae in both aquatic and terrestrial forms with help from recently purchased sweep nets, floating nets, and other collection devices. SSU students who work to transform elementary and junior high school children into insect enthusiasts now have access to field magnifiers and portable field microscopes. As Ms. Lavoipierre explained, magnifying insects is a great way to catch a child's attention.

Monitoring Techniques

In 2010-2011, Biology, Engineering, and Chemistry faculty used new equipment to improve water sampling techniques. This added value to the Watershed Contamination Analysis Program. For example, microbiology students poured water into newly acquired IDEXX 2000 trays when analyzing the microbiology of Copeland Creek.

2010-2011 Sustainability and Community-Engagement Mini-Conference

In March 2011, seventeen SSU faculty members committed to learning more about service-learning best practices joined forces with five members of SSU's staff, five students, and representatives from fifteen community organizations to participate in the 2011 "Sustainability and Community-Engagement Mini-Conference."

The conference's guest speaker, Kevin Kecskes, Associate Vice Provost for Engagement and Director of Community-University Partnerships at Portland State University, helped faculty strategize about developing sustainable partnerships with community organizations while also delivering top-quality instruction.

The Conference not only educated and energized participants, it opened up new avenues for collaboration. During the Conference, five new STEM service-learning relationships were established between SSU and a community partner, and an entire new area of curriculum development opened up in the freshmen transition program. (See Sustainability and Community Engagement Mini-Conference 2011 Blog for more information.)

New Collaborations: Freshmen Transition Program

By June 2011, Conference participant Dr. John Kornfeld, who is also the Chair of Undergraduate Studies at SSU, had teamed up with: Dr. Claudia Luke, Director of SSU Preserves; Julie Greathouse, Coordinator for Student Academic Services; Merith Weisman, Coordinator of the Center for Community Engagement; and other faculty and staff to charter a pilot freshmen transition course.

The new course will support students in transitioning from high school to college. Students will be required to complete service-learning projects that introduce them to Sonoma County and that also benefit Copeland Creek and nonprofits organized to protect Copeland Creek and associated watersheds.

See New Directions for more information on how service-learning efforts continue to grow and stimulate new interdisciplinary alliances.