LEWISTON, Idaho - For the fourth time in as many years, Lewis-Clark State College was selected for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the category of General Community Service. The formal announcement was made in a press release from the Corporation for National and Community Service earlier this week.
The honor roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Lewis-Clark State College Service Learning Advisor Charlette Kremer said LCSC’s application focused on three projects.
Social Work students in the Mental Health and Mental Illness in the 21st Century class are matched with a community member living with chronic and persistent mental illness. Community member participants are considered “Citizen Companions” and identified and treated as graduate assistants because they teach the students about facing and overcoming the stigma attached to living with a mental illness. “The Citizen Companions receive socialization beneficial to their mental health and become empowered to speak as experts on their lived experiences,” Kremer said.
The school's Positive Psychology course incorporates elder care as a means of understanding psychosocial development. Working with the Area Agency on Aging, pairs of students are matched with isolated elderly. Through their weekly conversations, students are challenged to learn about all eight stages of psychosocial development while maintaining the elder’s mental and emotional good health as the top priority. At the end of the course, students write a “celebration” of the elder which incorporates the narratives collected from the elder, data from personal observation, and a critical analysis of the theory of psychosocial development. Kremer said the class has been so successful, there is a waiting list of elders hoping to be included in the project.
In spring 2013, students in the LCSC Engineering Club and Introduction to Engineering class considered the idea of designing, building, and installing solar lighting on the baskets of the community’s only disc golf course. “The students conducted research on solar panels, photocells, and LED lights,” said Kremer. “They conducted experiments to determine which lights provided good visibility without disturbing neighbors and formed partnerships with local businesses and the City of Lewiston. The end result is a 'green' recreational opportunity made available to all who want to test their disc golf skills under the stars.”
Kremer said honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, and the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships.
Kathy Martin, LCSC Dean for Community Programs and Governmental Relations, said the efforts that contributed to the school once again being named to the honor roll are part of an overall effort to ensure that connections with the community remain strong and purposeful.
“Service Learning initiatives are part of LCSC’s Strategic Plan goal to strengthen and expand collaborative relationships and partnerships,” Martin said. “We’re very proud to be recognized for the contributions our faculty, staff, and students make to serve our community.”
Boise State University and the University of Idaho were the only other Idaho higher education institution named to the 2014 honor roll.
Photo: Charlette Kremer