Community Partnership Funds

Apply for the Community Partnership Funds to receive funding for a campus and community partnership project.

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Program set to take ‘unique’ approach to sexual assault awareness

Bowling Green, KY – According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, an estimated 54% of sexual assaults go unreported each year. Because of this, a WKU student, with support from collaborating organizations, is planning an event titled Love the Way You Lie set to take place on March 21st, to raise awareness of what do when a person is faced with sexual assault.

“[Sexual assault] happens way too often and people need to be aware of what to do if it happens to them,” said Chantel Batten-Utley, student coordinator of Love the Way You Lie.  Batten-Utley has often supported sexual assault awareness events and understands the importance of awareness. “It is important to show people who have sexually assaulted someone that we are fighting back.”

The event will take place on Thursday, March 21, 2013 in the Downing University Center Auditorium on Western Kentucky University’s campus at 7:00pm. The doors will open at 6:30pm. The evening will feature a speaker from Hope Harbor, the local crisis counseling center. In addition, campus and community members will provide performances such as interpretive dances, songs, poetry, monologues, and skits. Each performance in Love the Way You Lie will raise awareness of sexual assault and highlight ways in which students and community members can make a difference in their everyday lives.

“An event like this is a creative, unique way to increase awareness of sexual violence and its impact on the community,” said Elizabeth Madariaga, staff counselor with WKU’s Counseling and Testing Center.  “It helps to get people talking about a sensitive subject instead of acting like it doesn’t exist.  These events often show different ways for people to recognize what all types of sexual violence there are.”

All students and members of the community are invited to this free event. There will also be resources available during the night of the event that includes important contacts in the community.

The event will be presented with support from WKU’s Student Activities and the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships in partnership with the Sexual Assault Awareness Month committee.  For more information, contact Crystal Hardeman at crystal.hardeman@wku.edu or Aurelia Spaulding at aurelia.spaulding@wku.edu.

Students use class project to advocate homelessness awareness

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By: Jasmine Bowie

Taking classes on WKU’s campus can fulfill major requirements as well as influence the way you think about and approach certain issues.  Diversity and Social Injustice did just that for students Kendre Fulks and Rebecca Katz.  The class is a requirement for the certificate program at the Institute of Citizenship and Social Responsibility (ICSR) and also satisfies credits in religious studies, Katz’s major and marketing, Fulk’s major.   The class requires groups of four to choose a social issue in the Bowling Green community and come up with a practical solution for this issue though awareness, advocacy, and volunteerism.

For their project Katz and Fulks along with two others in their group, facilitated a five question survey pertaining to homelessness.   The survey was taken at Downing University Center and asked basic questions about the homelessness population such as: which state has the most homeless people per capita, what do you think a homeless person looks like, and why do you think homelessness occurs. The group then took the questions and results to Shantytown, a WKU event in which students build shanties to sleep in to understand firsthand the problems of homelessness, and asked the participants what they thought about the issue and also about the effectiveness of the event itself. Through presenting this information, participants became more aware of the myths and stereotypes associated with the homeless.  To further advocate, the group analyzed the effectiveness of the event and contacted Housing and Residence life; (HRL) to suggest ways to improve the program for the future.  The group also volunteered at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, serving food to the homeless in the Bowling Green community.

This project that was an effort to make people more aware of the issues that the homeless face, advocate for better treatment, debunk common myths, and help the homeless be perceived as human beings.  Fulks’s believes that the issues the homeless face are rarely ever talked about and need to be addressed. For Katz, these small grassroots projects are all a part of building stronger, closer communities, because ultimately it is the community that can solve these problems better than outside actors.  Overall, projects like this help us understand that the initiative provided by class can really impact the way students engage the community around them.

HRL Director works to prevent hunger in East African refugee camps

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By: Jasmine Bowie

“My ideal situation is that more people become aware of the East African hunger crisis.”

Jeffery Long, residence hall director of Bates Runner and Mclean Halls, is leading a week-long awareness event on campus to bring attention to the East African hunger crisis. He is currently receiving his ABD at the University of Tennessee in Political Science; Long’s dissertation is titled “Politics of Famine Relief in Africa.” He has a keen interest African politics and finds the fact that Somalia’s hunger crisis has yet to make national news disheartening.

Taking action, Long, under the sponsorship of Housing and Residence Life and the support of the students and his staff, decided to create the three-day event, Dining with Dadaab, named after a Somali refugee camp.  The event will imitate the distribution of meals that refugees receive at Dadaab.  November 14th through the 16th, students that participate will receive cooked rice three times a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  “The idea is to present this as a challenge the question students will have to ask themselves is can they do this? Even if participants cannot maintain this diet for the entire week, the purpose is that they become aware of the challenges refugees face in these camps and that they understand how little refugees have.”

In addition to Dining with Dadaab, Long will also be selling silicon bracelets with proceeds going to the active humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger.  Long hopes that after Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, participants will further educate themselves on the issue and take more action in creating efforts to combat the crisis that plagues refugee camps.  Students are turning awareness into action already through a letter writing campaign to Senators Paul and McConnell about the East African hunger crisis. This event is held in conjunction with Dining with Dadaab.  Long will continue to do everything he can to contribute to the fight against world hunger– whether through other organizations or by planning individual events.  Long said, “Information often-times can be a burden, because you feel like you cannot do

anything about it so this is my part to help, and I hope it will make a little bit of a difference.”

Students organize Universities Fighting World Hunger

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By: Aurelia Spaulding

Western Kentucky University senior Andria Keating started organizing a campus group for Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH) after hearing about the program at a conference in the spring of 2011.

“A women named Janet Mullins showed a video on Universities Fighting World Hunger during her speech where a group from Auburn raised money to start a school in Ghana,” Keating said. “I really fell in love with some of the things they said.”

Keating, who is Dietetics major from Owensboro, KY, began organizing other students in the Family and Consumer Sciences program over the summer. Since then, more than 50 students, many of them from Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society, participate in the WKU student group of Universities Fighting World Hunger.

One of the activities that the students are working on is planning a feeding program for the Barren River Area Safe Space. The BRASS shelter is known for housing women and families who have encountered domestic violence. UFWH will have someone visit the shelter to teach the women how to cook for themselves, budget with their diet, and how to prepare healthy snacks for the kids.

“We are grateful for the extra assistance in meal preparation in the shelter.  The nutrition groups with the residents will be beneficial as they work towards improving health and eating habits,” said Lee Alcott, Executive Director of Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc.

In addition, Universities Fighting World Hunger organized a food drive with Greek sororities and fraternities and residence halls this November to support BRASS, HOTEL INC, and Salvation Army.

“I don’t want people to think that we just do things for an international reach. I want them to realize that there are things going on in our community. There are homeless people in our own community,” Keating said.

pres and viceUFWH plans to have a Getting Wasted project and Hunger March to add to the food drive during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (November 13-19). Getting Wasted will take place on Monday, November 14th to raise awareness to the amount of food wasted each day. The student group members will keep track of the food thrown away in the university’s food court that day. At the same time, they will also be handing out information as part of the Think Outside the Box awareness fair for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness week.

On Wednesday, November 16th, students will meet at Egypt parking lot at 9:00am for the Hunger March. The group will have t-shirts and hold signs as they walk through WKU’s campus to Bowling Green City Hall. At 10:00am, Mayor Joe Denning will sign a proclamation for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness.

“I think that it (food) is something that a lot of students take for granted, and maybe this will help open their eyes and make them more aware.”

Student helps children through Senase Project

DSC00627By Alanna Baugher

Sarah Hagan, a WKU senior psychology major, child studies minor, and leadership certificate holder from Gray, Georgia, is touching lives across the globe. She, along with four other students, founded a nonprofit called SENASE after studying abroad with Semester at Sea. SENASE is named after one of the villages she stayed in during her trip to Ghana with Semester at Sea. SENASE’s mission statement is to eradicate poverty through community development. (They chose to leave the mission statement broad enough to take it wherever their projects need to go.) While there, the students helped revamp a local school. After visiting, Hagan couldn’t stop thinking about the kids, “The children there looked hopeless with no light in their eyes.” The children oftentimes do not pass the national exam required to go on to higher education due to the lack of resources. Because of this, they take menial jobs and remain in poverty. So, Hagan and others set out to create change. They are currently working on getting teachers from other schools to help the teachers of Senase. They are also raising funds to make uniforms for the children. A local seamstress from the village will make the uniforms to help boost the local economy. Hagan wants to continue working with SENASE because of the “difference a small thing can make.” She is passionate about bringing change to others because she views herself as blessed beyond belief. She said she cannot fathom going days or weeks without eating. After seeing it firsthand, she “cannot not do anything about it.” For those who want to join her cause, help is needed in spreading the word and raising money for the school and uniforms. Please contact Hagan at sarah.hagan569@topper.wku.edu for more information.

Anyone interested in donating can visit the website, www.thesenaseproject.org. To donate a uniform ($15) they have included it as an item in the website store. To make an unspecified donation they can just click on the “donate” button on the home page.

This is the second spotlight in our week-long series on Students Join Efforts for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness.

Students share a swipe for Salvation Army

By: Alanna BaugherFlyer Fall 11 (2)

Katie Knecht, a senior news editorial journalism student at WKU from Paducah, Kentucky, is giving back one meal plan at a time. Knecht, along with three other students, sits outside of the DUC food court collecting leftover meal plans every Sunday night from 5-9pm. Their movement has been titled “Share a Swipe.” Students use their extra weekly meal plans to buy food such as cereal and granola bars and then donate them to Share a Swipe. Share a Swipe then gives the weekly collection to the Salvation Army. Heather Gordon from the Salvation Army said that, “If it wasn’t for community partners making donations, we wouldn’t have food to give out.” Local donations make up the majority of what the Salvation Army is able to give to those in need.  Share a Swipe came out of a course Knecht and the others took in the spring of 2010. They realized that “students are paying for meals only to have them vanish once the week is over.” This bothered them, and Share a Swipe was born. Knecht said she “didn’t really get involved until later on in her college career, so she is glad she now has something,” and something successful to boot. The success of the group, she feels, comes from the simplicity – buying food with meal plans is not difficult. Once the food is bought, the student puts it in the donation box, and that is all that is required. Share a Swipe is also trying to exemplify how easy it is to help others and the community, even through an act as small as giving extra meal plans away. She hopes that Share a Swipe will continue after she leaves, because “the meal plan isn’t going anywhere.”  All students are encouraged to aid in this effort.

This is the first spotlight in our week-long series on Students Join Efforts for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness.

Student Takes Every Opportunity to Service

Derek Irvin

Run, walk, ride, drive, or skip–Derek Irvin will do whatever it takes, in order to serve. Derek Irvin, a senior Broadcast News major, provides some form of community service more often than many students.

“The feeling that I get when I help someone else out is equal to or greater than the feeling that they get when they’re being helped,” Derek stated while walking two huge huskies one cold weekend at the Bowling Green/Warren County Humane Society.

Elizabeth Cooper, Humane Society Adoption Specialist, said, “We would not be able to function without the help of volunteers, especially young people who help exercise and walk the dogs.” Irvin volunteers at the Humane Society most weekends and sometimes during the week.

Through one of his organizations, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Irvin serves in many different programs, such as the Project Alpha and A-Phi Buddies. Project Alpha is an ongoing program that Irvin has been working on for a couple of years now. Project Alpha helps to provide education, motivation, and skill-building on issues of responsibility, relationships, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases for young males between the ages of 12-15. This project was created to provide young men with current and accurate information about teen pregnancy prevention through a series of workshops and informational sessions. A-Phi Buddies is a program set up for the members to talk within the high schools to students about going to college.

Irvin’s organizational advisor, Joshua Hayes, said, “Dedication is only one of several terms that describes Derek and his love for service. His creativity, limitless investment of time and willingness to leave a legacy for others allows him to work in various capacities. Whether working with animals, youth, or lyrics, his overall vision is to help better others.”

In addition to participating in youth programs with his fraternity and volunteering with the Humane Society, Irvin serves through Adopt-A-Highway clean-ups, tutoring at the local Boys & Girls Club, and other opportunities when they arise.

“I just like giving back to the community,” Irvin said.

Irvin, along with students Trent Dunn and Maria Tibbs, (using the group named Disciple Nation), coordinate an event titled WKU Idol. The event highlights talented students at WKU and offers them publicity and cash prizes.

In the midst of Irvin’s service to the community and campus involvement, he manages to reach high academic standards. Irvin has been recognized on the Dean’s List several times during his academic career, and he considers academics his first priority.

 

WKU Students Leave a Living Legacy

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Written by Alyssa Stephens, Photo by Clinton Lewis

Beginning with the class of 2013, students will have the opportunity to give something meaningful while they are attending Western Kentucky University, something that will keep on giving to both the university and the community long after they graduate, a living legacy.  This is the idea behind the Class Legacy Project.

The Class Legacy Project was introduced in WKU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which states that WKU will “establish a Class Legacy Program whereby each student cohort adopts and addresses a significant university, social or civic issue during their tenure at Western.” The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is part of WKU’s accreditation review, but this program in particular was based on a demand from students who want to be more involved in the community and a desire for increased engagement and connection between students at WKU and the citizens of Bowling Green.

After being published in the QEP, the project was passed on to Honors College Senior Joey Coe, who was part of the successful ONE campaign in 2007, in conjunction with Dr. Paul Markham, Co-Director of the Institute for Citizenship for Social Responsibility (ICSR).  According to Honors College Sophomore, Tracy Jo Ingram, one of the founding “Legateers,” beyond that sentence, nothing was really given to them.  “It wasn’t defined beyond that, what a Class Legacy Project was or what it should look like, so that it totally became the interpretation of students.” Joey Coe and Dr. Markham started inviting a group of freshman to the Hill House to further develop the idea, and since then it has been in student hands, the class of 2013.  “We’ve taken the reigns, and it is up to us to dictate what it might look like.”

The inaugural class has yet to name a specific project, but students have narrowed their focus to Bowling Green’s “Enterprise Community”, so named because of a grant program that provided hundreds of thousands of dollars over 11 years to improve the economic and social conditions of this area. In Ingram’s opinion, this decision is the most important. “Our overarching goal isn’t the project but the place. We are making a commitment to that area, and each class will find their niche within it and find room for improvement in that area.”

“It’s not anything like what we thought it would look like last year,” says Ingram, “It’s very much derived from the QEP, but now that it’s started to take shape, it’s also changing form. It’s really an idea that requires patience. The whole idea of ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ It’s this concept that’s being built upon more and more as we learn about our community and the difference we want to make.”

The idea made its official debut this fall at the Freshman Assembly and was met with considerable interest. The original class involves around 10 people, but about 40 members of the class of 2014 expressed interest in being a part of this project.  This may seem small, but according to Ingram, that is all you need. “It really boils down to a few committed people,” says Ingram. “But that’s really all it takes to make a difference.”

Mutual Benefits from Service-Learning

Brandon Bowman, Senior at WKU and Communications Liaison on The $100 Solution™ Board of Directors, encourages students to "blow service out of the water."

Brandon Bowman, Senior at WKU and Communications Liaison on The $100 Solution™ Board of Directors, encourages students to "blow service out of the water."

What started out as a class project turned into a lifestyle for WKU Senior Brandon Bowman. Studying Corporate Organization and Communication and Public Relations in the Honors College, Bowman took the course Community Approach to Service-Learning that challenged him to make a difference in the Bowling Green community. His group decided to teach English as a Second Language to a Hispanic family in a mobile home community and fell in love with service-learning. Although this was Bowman’s first experience with service-learning, it laid the foundation for his involvement now with The $100 Solution™ and other community and campus endeavors.

Bowman holds the Communications Liaison position on The $100 Solution™ Board of Directors, which is a program that affects communities world-wide by initiating change through the ideas of students who want to make a difference in a community with only $100. He is also involved with Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), campus ministries, Navitas, and the Alumni Association.

These experiences gave Bowman skills that he will use for years to come both in his personal life and in his future career. He has been given the opportunity to write bylaws, recruit new members and advisors, and assist in creating a strategic development plan.

“Before, community service was good, but now it’s empowering for both parties,” Bowman said. “I’ve learned a lot by helping others learn and my values have been shaped. Mowing a lawn for someone is nice, but when you add meaning, that’s when you learn and grow.”

Bowman believes that service-learning and student engagement are necessary for growth. He shows this through the organizations he is involved in and he strives to “do things well and be hyper-involved, while giving it all you’ve got.”

“Blow service out of the water,” Bowman said in encouragement to students to find and do something that challenges them. He urges students to seek the advice of other people and use all of the resources that college students have available to them, such as passion, time, advisors, and peers. Bowman’s advice to students who have trouble finding their own project is to create a team and brainstorm together.

“Where you are deficient, someone else is more than efficient,” said Bowman. “Mutually beneficial relationships work together to make it happen. They are learning from each as a community.”

To think that only the community is being served is false, according to Bowman. He has experienced the process and realized that being involved in community service is a life change. Bowman discussed how there should be an inspiration of the heart and the utilization of students’ skills.

“When I walk out of college, I want to know that everything I did was worth it,” said Bowman. “I want to know I used my time efficiently. It may have taken a lot of time, physical energy, and resources, but when you pay it forward, someone else will carry it on. It will grow. Inspiration and vision grows exponentially.”