A core component of IPFW’s metropolitan university designation is community service. In the College of Arts and Sciences, our new START program is designed to meet that call. All projects submitted for START grants must meet a community need or solve a problem through faculty-led projects that connect their students to both experiential learning and community partners.
Our START program started in January with four projects funded:
The Great Greenhouse Giveaway: Mastodons Growing a Greener World
With Assistant Professor Sherrie Steiner (sociology) coordinating efforts, faculty and students from sociology, communication, and international languages and cultural studies as well student organization members are promoting community gardening efforts to increase awareness of food deserts (areas with few grocery stores) and protecting people from brownfield sites (land poisoned by industrial and other waste). Their community partners are Blackford County Concerned Citizens (BCCC), Community Harvest Food Bank, and the IPFW Food Bank.
Students will raise vegetable plants; students will write care instructions in multiple languages; and students will distribute the vegetable starts at the IPFW Food Bank, Community Harvest Food Bank, and BCCC. At the BCCC event, the START project students will partner with engineering students who will be presenting affordable greenhouse designs to those in attendance.
Creating Disability Friendly Businesses in Fort Wayne
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) faculty are on a mission to encourage disability-friendly business practices in Fort Wayne. In partnership with area businesses, students will create training materials about communication disorders, autism, and dementia that they will use to train employees at local businesses about working with and serving this population. This START project is funded by a generous grant from the Waterfield Foundation and will run through fall 2018.
Sharing the Gift of Reading
Assistant Professor Pam Reese (CSD) is developing a mobile literacy library and program. CSD students will bring books to local schools and work with students to strengthen their reading skills. This project allows CSD students to use literacy and teaching strategies they learn in the classroom to help struggling children discover the joy and confidence needed to read and write.
Marketing Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Keller’s (English and linguistics) project involves the students in her Writing for Multiple Media course. With studio time donated by Federated Media, students will create marketing materials to help Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House increase awareness of their services, explain the organization’s connections to area hospitals, and encourage donations to help fund the services and lodgings they provide for people whose children are treated at Lutheran Hospitals.