Name: Jennifer Burt
The state’s Campus Compact organization recognized four Southern Utah University campus members for their efforts to promote and participation in service-learning activities, enhancing the educational experience and positively impacting the community.
The T-Birds recognized at Campus Compact’s annual awards ceremony included Alyssa Winterton, a senior elementary education major, who was recognized as SUU’s civically engaged student; Steve Barney, associate professor and department chair of psychology, who was recognized as the University’s civically engaged scholar; Wes Curtis, vice president for government relations and regional services, who was recognized as SUU’s civically engaged staff member; and Lance Syrett, general manager of Ruby’s Inn at the mouth of Bryce Canyon National Park, who was recognized as a committed community partner.
The accomplishments of these four recipients are indicative of the kind of efforts students, faculty, staff and alumni campus wide undertake to better engage service within education. SUU continues to be a leader in service-learning, offering more and more service-learning activities within general coursework and campus programming each year.
“The future of higher education may lie in our ability to prepare students to be engaged contributors in meaningful endeavors,” said Barney. “I want to change the world, one service-learning student at a time.” A two-time Service-Learning Fellow at SUU, Barney champions service-learning through his leadership, accomplishments, and willingness to assist others.
Winterton began working with the Service and Learning Center in 2007. She joined one of the Alternative Spring Break trips to Mexico and instantly began seeing the difference she could make. “I feel like I really make a difference in others’ lives and mine by being involved in service,” said Winterton. She has served as the Service leader President and has worked tirelessly to encourage and support other student leaders in developing and sustaining community service programming.
Service learning is an important part of a well rounded education and that is what SUU professors and community members work to provide for students. Wes Curtis has worked alongside many local and national governmental agencies to provide opportunities for students to be involved with service learning. “Our office has a special community engagement focus” said Curtis. “We want students to have learning experiences through internships, employment, volunteer, and service-learning endeavors.”
Lance Syrett sees service learning as a win-win for both parties. Over the past two years students enrolled in Hotel, Resort and Hospitality Management courses have worked with Ruby’s Inn to enhance theories learned in the classroom. Students have gained invaluable hands on experience while this local business has received professional grade consulting and comprehensive service evaluation from students.
According to their website, Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and universities that are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.
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