The Community Partners Fair held twice a year at the University of Indianapolis is a chance for students, faculty and staff to network and explore service-learning and other community projects with local and national nonprofit agencies.
The fall event is scheduled for Aug. 30 and Sept. 6-7, 2017, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the engagement space in the Schwitzer Student Center (Aug. 30 and Sept. 6) and in the UIndy Health Pavilion lobby (Sept. 7). There is no need to register in advance.
Marianna Foulkrod, director of the University’s Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement, said the fair is open to all academic units and offers a broad mix of agencies from various fields each day, noting that Sept. 7 will be devoted to health-related agencies.
For faculty, it’s a chance to network with diverse agencies as they consider ways to integrate service-learning and collaborative community engagement into their curriculum.
“They can learn about the most current social issues that our communities are dealing with,” Foulkrod said. “In exploring and learning, they get ideas about how they can use service-learning as a teaching methodology.”
For students, the fair not only offers the potential to fulfill a course requirement for service-learning but also allows for exploration of service projects for Registered Student Organizations or athletic teams, volunteer experiences, and other engagement opportunities through service.
“Community Partner Fairs are a great way for students and faculty to learn more about the plethora of amazing community partners connected to UIndy and how these organizations have been involved with UIndy for many years. It has allowed me to understand the unique mission of each of these partners and what great work they provide for the community,” said Julie Gahimer, professor of physical therapy.
Organizations working with youth, people with disabilities or in areas like domestic violence or homelessness are just a few examples of past fair participants. At a service-learning fair earlier this year, Deb Strickler, recreational therapist at the Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital’s Stroke Camp, said UIndy’s students serve a critical need by working with participants through the duration of the camp.
“We’ve been partners for over 10 years, and UIndy is a vital part of the program,” Strickler said.
Through the University’s service-learning mission, students learn critical job-related skills as they build a tradition of giving back to the community (Education for Service). Tia Schrader (’18, physical therapy) learned to appreciate the full lives that the stroke survivors she worked with were striving to regain.
“Volunteering at the camp has given me the perspective that there’s much more that patients want to do as they return to the community,” Schrader said.
Ahsleigh Coster, program director for the Intercollegiate YMCA–another UIndy community partner–points to the impact the partnership has made on youth and families living in the Laurelwood public housing community, located near campus in the University Heights neighborhood. Through collaboration with faculty and students on service-learning classes and a work-study program, Coster said UIndy students have been actively involved in planning and implementing activities during a free afterschool program for children, among other activities.
“We are so lucky to partner with the University of Indianapolis, and I have been so amazed at how much the Laurelwood community has benefited from it as well. We have watched this neighborhood transform and thrive through the work that each UIndy student gives every semester,” said Coster.
Foulkrod encouraged faculty to use the Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement as a resource to discuss how to match community needs with learning goals for their students. (Contact Marianna Foulkrod via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-788-3546)
Past and present UIndy service-learning community partners include:
- Back on My Feet Indianapolis
- Brownsburg Meadows
- Camp Possability
- Camp Healing Tree
- Center for Courageous Kids
- Damar Services
- Dayspring Center
- Easter Seals Crossroads
- Freewheelin’ Community Bikes
- Great Lakes Burn Camp for Kids
- Intercollegiate YMCA
- Joy’s House
- Julian Center Domestic Violence Shelter
- Outreach Inc.
- Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp
- Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana Sports Program
- Second Helpings
- Shepherd Community Center
- Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital Annual CVA Camp