UL System Campuses Collect Third Round of Service Grants

NOTE:See grant awards and projects below by university.

THIBODAUX, La. – Calling community service a “vital tool in shaping the moral character of students,” University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett awarded more than $130,000 to the eight UL System campuses Friday for projects ranging from cyberbullying prevention and environmental education to disaster preparation and outreach to Louisiana’s growing Hispanic population.

Moffett made the presentation of the third round of Learn and Serve grants at Nicholls State University during a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the UL System. The awards are part of a $1.2 million Learn and Serve grant secured by the system in 2005. The grant, along with required university matching funds, brings the total UL System financial commitment to service learning to $2.4 million over a three-year period.

In other business, the system president discussed ways in which the UL System and its universities are addressing budget challenges in light of Governor Bobby Jindal’s November 20 executive order.

Moffett said the system is actively: ·

  • Reviewing vacant positions
  • Examining low-completer programs
  • Developing staffing strategies that prioritize positions critical to the mission, safety and maintenance of academic services
  • Exploring ways to expand its 4- year-old bulk purchasing initiative that has already realized significant results through bulk purchasing and other approaches, and
  • Pursuing other efficiencies to address budget challenges at its eight universities.

Moffett also committed to working with the Louisiana Workforce Commission to address the state’s most pressing workforce needs. Workforce Commission Executive Director Tim Barfield met with UL System university presidents and board members Thursday to outline the key aspects of the state’s workforce development initiative.

The system is already the leading producer of graduates in the key areas of education, health care, business and engineering and engineering technology. UL System universities are the primary economic drivers in their regions, impacting virtually every part of the state – providing incubators and resources for startup companies and small businesses, spearheading regional economic development and planning efforts, guiding school improvement, and advancing the development of innovative technologies that are key to Louisiana’s growing knowledge-based economy.

Blending Education with Service

Over the past few years, the UL System and its campuses have made service learning a top priority, encouraging faculty members to incorporate service into their courses.

Friday, the system awarded the third round of funding from a $1.2 million grant through the Learn and Serve America division of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In the past two years, students have logged approximately 100,000 service hours through grants to address challenges in hurricane recovery, education, health care and the environment. This doesn’t count service projects through campus organizations and other endeavors not covered by the grant.

“Our future prosperity, our place in the world relies in large part on the young people on our campuses right now. It is our job to provide them every opportunity to hone their skills, shape their character and help them discover how to apply their talents and education to the challenges that grip our society. We are grateful for the grants and campus match dollars that make many of these opportunities possible,” Moffett said.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that students who engage in service have more fulfilling college experiences and transfer their service mentality to careers and personal lives,” UL System Board Chair Elsie Burkhalter said. “I’m proud that we are able to make these experiences available to our young people.”


GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY ($5,000 award for one project)

Hoping for the Best While Preparing for the Worst: Infusing Disaster Preparation into the First Year Experience Program

The project will allow professors, members of the Campus Emergency Response Team (CERT), members of the City of Grambling Fire Department, and other trained responders to teach disaster relief preparation to select students who will ultimately teach preparation skills to 1,000 students per year.

LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY ($18,154 for four projects)

Sparta Conservation Service Learning Project

The Louisiana Rural Development Center will coordinate with the university’s Department of Agricultural Sciences faculty to develop and implement service learning materials for students in selected courses that will aid in increasing public awareness of issues concerning conservation of the Sparta Aquifer.

Strengthening English Skills of Children of Immigrants through Tutoring

This project empowers tutors from Louisiana Tech to serve the needs of area primary school students who do not speak English or who struggle with the language. Through a new course offering, university students will have a learning component added to their volunteer experience.

Earthquake Simulation Room for the IDEA Place

The project will consist of designing and constructing an earthquake simulation room for The IDEA Place. This will stimulate the minds of children and allow them to experience what a real earthquake feels like.

Multimodality Language Learning in Children

This project utilizes multi-modality learning and low-cost technology materials to equip children displaced during states of emergency with strategies that promote continuity in learning with a focus on the Louisiana K-12 curriculum standards.

MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY ($22,306 for three projects)

Expanding Services to a Growing Hispanic Community

This grant proposal provides needed services to the growing number of Hispanic families in Lake Charles by initiating a service-learning program at the University. A new service-learning Spanish course at McNeese will match Spanish students with La Familia Resource Center and associated area agencies.

Service-Learners and the Oak Park Middle School Orchestra Program

This project seeks to provide quality string music instruction, quality instruments and teacher support for skilled string playing undergraduates to enhance Oak Park Middle School’s orchestra program.

Coping Skills and Disaster Recovery Strategies for Low-income Parents

The overall goal of the project is to improve community social services in Southwest Louisiana by exposing low-income parents to coping skills and recovery strategies, including how to access available community resources. Students will practice research skills through community-based interviews and create a Parents’ Resource Guide for low-income parents.

NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY ($5,460 for one project)

Marine Debris Becomes Art with a Message

This project removes litter from the beach at Grand Isle State Park (GISP) and creates an exhibit of marine debris sculptures to provide participants with knowledge about Louisiana’s litter problem and the negative impacts of marine debris on ecological processes, while contributing to a marine debris database for GISP.

NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY ($30,772.80 for four projects)

Cyberbullying Prevention

This project targets the problem of cyberbullying and provides NSU students, local administrators, teachers, and school counselors with resources and materials they need to understand and prevent cyberbullying and educates parents and students on the issue.

Spring Splash into Mathematics Service Learning Project

This proposal involves pairing students in two elementary schools that have low parental involvement with teacher education candidates to “Spring/Splash into Math”. It focuses on building a community of learners through a series of Family Mathematics Night activities that include parents, elementary students and university students.

A CASA Christmas: Future Teachers Serving Central Louisiana’s Disadvantaged Youth

This project’s purpose is to partner about 75 students from the university’s education program with CASA to provide them with information about child abuse and neglect, certifying them as CASA advocates and expanding the CASA Christmas present project.

Green Foods: Local Organics and Healthful Living

The project will consist of a lecture (for the public) on locally produced foods, organic foods, and healthful eating choices to help inform Louisiana residents about the health benefits and local availability of organic foods.


Green Education is Key: Understanding the Simple and Economically Friendly Ways to become Environmentally Responsible

The grant’s objective is to initiate recycling programs, develop an educational program for junior high students, hold an Earth Day celebration on campus, and encourage environmental communication by providing the community with information about becoming “green”.

Cooking up a Storm

The project’s goal is to provide children with the knowledge necessary to make healthy food choices and to prepare healthy meals for their families by creating an inclusive vegetable/herb garden and developing a cookbook featuring the produce grown in the gardens.

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE ($19,921 for three projects)

Project RUNbus

RUNbus will be an exhibition vehicle that will provide an exciting space for learning about environmental protection, sustainability, and social entrepreneurship. The participants will acquire their knowledge and experience from the Sustainable Living Roadshow (SLR) and then relay this knowledge to various schools and venues. The vehicle itself incorporates green technology to demonstrate ecological options.

Environmental Awareness Service Projects for Low Income Homes

The goal of this project is for students from the College of Engineering to perform energy and environmental savings testing on the low-income homes in recent hurricane ravaged communities to entice homeowners to improve insulation, purchase energy efficient appliances, and modify their energy consumption habits.

Advocation of Math, Science, and Environmental Issues in Local Schools

The university organization American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) plans to educate elementary, middle, and high school students on the importance of math, science, engineering, and environmentalism through environmental awareness days. The club will meet with one of each of the schools in the parish to discuss the need for recycling, energy and water conservation, and the effects of pollution.

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT MONROE ($12,697 for two projects)

Project SOAR: Launching a Professional Development School

This project is designed to provide targeted interventions in reading and writing for site recipients, practical application of teacher preparation course content for university participants, and opportunities for ongoing relationships between university participants and site recipients.

Food for Thought: Linking Nutrition, Health, and School Performance

This project is designed to respond to needs identified in a previous grant (MAD: Making a Difference). The College of Nursing and Education are collaborating to increase awareness of the impact of nutrition on student learning and to promote healthy food choices on school menus. For more information about these topics and to find out more about the UL System’s past service learning awards, visit the system website at www.ulystem.edu.