LSU Awarded National Community Engagement Classification

01/16/2015 11:18 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU students, faculty and staff can be found engaged in the community tutoring elementary school students, conducting wildlife inventories, and leading fitness classes for senior adults. It is the prevalence of this type of work throughout the institution that has earned the university the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification for the second time.
 

LSU joins 240 U.S. colleges and universities receiving the 2015 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement were invited to apply for the classification, first offered in 2006 as part of an extensive restructuring of The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
 

It is an elective classification, in which institutions participate voluntarily by submitting required materials describing the nature and extent of their engagement with the community. LSU first earned the Community Engagement Classification in 2008. With this year’s award, LSU will retain the designation until 2025.
 

Community service is a continuous commitment at LSU, demonstrated by the 69 percent of LSU seniors who reported having done volunteer work in the community, the approximately 150 service-learning courses offered to students annually and more than 28 student organizations listing service as their primary purpose.
 

“At LSU, we understand that an education is only as good at its impact on society. This recognition from Carnegie reflects our long history of developing engaged citizens who give back to our communities in so many ways,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “Last year, our students provided more than 70,000 hours of service to the Baton Rouge area alone. I’m proud that our student body doesn’t simply stay on campus, but instead takes every opportunity presented to give back and make a difference to Louisiana. This recognition signifies that our LSU family understands that we as a university are only as strong as our communities where we reside.”
 

Several engagement projects highlighted in the application include:
 

  • Louisiana Seafood Academy – a partnership between Community Foundation of Acadiana and Louisiana Sea Grant to provide an educational program designed to professionalize commercial fishing through business training and safety certifications. Topics covered include product handling and quality, fuel efficiency and marketing. This program provides a direct conduit for university-based research to area fishermen through training opportunities, as well as education and outreach on fisheries biology, safe seafood handling procedures, professional seafood practices and proper business accounting methods.

  • Smart Bodies/Body Walk – a partnership among Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Louisiana, area K-12 schools, LSU, and the Community University Partnership to help prevent childhood obesity through classroom activities that promote healthy eating habits and physical exercise. The LSU AgCenter, along with faculty, staff and students from the School of Nutrition and Food Sciences and School of Kinesiology served approximately 3,775 individuals through this program.

  • Youth Wetlands Program – a partnership between Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, Louisiana Science Teachers Association and LSU AgCenter Extension to heighten youth awareness of Louisiana's wetland loss through an organized educational program of outreach, empowerment, and advocacy. Through this program, all participants gain awareness of wetlands and engage in service. Youth participants in the program have improved science test scores. A survey showed that 93 percent of youth participants had a better understanding of problems facing their community; 91 percent felt an increased desire to serve others; and 90 percent developed new skills.

  • EveryOne Counts, Everybody Reads – a partnership between Volunteers in Public Schools, or VIPS, and the LSU Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership, or CCELL, to enhance capacity for Volunteers in Public Schools while enhancing learning for LSU students. Research by VIPS showed that each mentee who is tutored by someone in this program for one year makes up half a year that she is behind as a result of tutoring. In addition, LSU faculty helped VIPS develop its Everyone Counts Program and a website with tutoring strategies to support it.

  • Community Bound – this partnership among East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, Volunteer LSU, Aramark Facility Services and the Honors College is a day-long service program held annually for incoming LSU students. The program provides general fix-up projects, like painting and landscaping at primary and secondary schools. Community Bound introduces students to service opportunities at LSU and in the surrounding community. High numbers of students report feeling more connected to their peers as a result of participating in Community Bound. 2,759 volunteers have worked at 35 schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System over the past 5 years. The school system is the second-largest in the state, serving more than 42,850 students.  

  • Fresh Cuts/Clean Health – a partnership between local barbershops and LSU Community University Partnership to provide health management services for low-income African-American and Latino males while they visit local barbershops. This program has provided 300 participants with free health screenings through the program and has expanded outreach to include local churches, and community organizations.

 

LSU is one of four institutions in Louisiana to receive this distinction. The others are Loyola University of New Orleans, Our Lady of the Lake College, and Tulane University. A full listing of the institutions that hold the Community Engagement Classification can be found on NERCHE’s website: nerche.org.
 

For more information, contact Marybeth Lima, director of LSU’s CCELL program at mlima1@lsu.edu.

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations
225-578-3867
bgomila@lsu.edu

Posted on Friday, January 16, 2015