This page features stories and events involving our faculty, staff, students, and community partners.

 

    USF Students Help Older Adults Age in Place

    Dr. Brianne Stanback (left) and Dr. Sheila Bosch (fourth from right) with Aging in Space and Place students.

    Dr. Brianne Stanback (left) and Dr. Sheila Bosch (fourth from right) with Aging in Space and Place students.

    by Bonnie Beth Silvestri, Director of Strategic Communications

    We all love having a place to call home that feels special and reflects our identity; but as we age, our homes may someday become a hazard. A second floor may become inaccessible or a seemingly innocuous lower cabinet may become a threat to our health and safety. Nonetheless, the vast majority of adults approaching late-life wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

    Dr. Brianne Stanback, Instructor and Internship Director in the School of Aging Studies, has taken the next step by creating a service-learning course called Aging in Space and Place in partnership with Florida Presbyterian Homes, a continuing care retirement community that offers a variety of choices for independent living and assisted living. She received a mini-grant from the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships to support the implementation of the course.

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    Dr. Sarina Ergas and her students help make our local water supply safe and healthy

    By Bonnie Beth Silvestri, Director of Strategic Communications

    When asked about her lifetime of work enhancing the communities in which she lives, Dr. Sarina Ergas, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the USF Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said with a lilt in her tone, “Liz says I’m the poster child for community engagement,” referring to the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships Director Dr. Elizabeth Strom.

    Dr. Sarina Ergas

    Dr. Sarina Ergas

    Ergas’s capstone engineering design course, which she teaches every spring, is a hallmark of community engagement, because the students are involved in local projects that have a lasting impact on various aspects of the Tampa Bay region’s environment. She co-teaches the course with Tom Cross, a local professional engineer with McKim & Creed, who she said is “plugged into a lot of the different projects in the local community” related to environmental and water resources engineering.

    Each year, the capstone design class has a different local partner agency; past partners have included the City of Tampa, the City of Clearwater, Hillsborough County, and the City of St. Petersburg, each of which is that semester’s “client” for the project. Senior level and graduate civil engineering students begin the course by meeting the client and taking a tour of the facility. They then sketch out a plan and develop a scope of work, which Ergas said is essentially a “bid” for the project.

    In the past, students have worked on resolving issues such as “beaches that are closed down because of fecal bacteria,” an excess of “algal blooms in storm water,” as well as methods to improve wastewater and drinking water treatment processes. Ergas described these as “interactive” projects. “It’s not just a small part of the class, it is the class.”

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    Dream becomes a Reality for Immigrant Students in Florida

     

    United We Dream students hoping to attend USF.

    United We Dream students hoping to attend USF.

     

    by Bonnie Beth Silvestri, JD, Director of Strategic Communications

    Dr. Elizabeth Aranda, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Sociology, and her research assistant, Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, are deeply involved in community-based research about the lives of immigrants and undocumented young people. Aranda regularly shares her research findings to help guide the political discussion of immigration reform.

    Most recently, during the week the Florida Senate was debating legislation that would permit undocumented young people, commonly referred to as “dreamers,” who attended high school in Florida, to access in-state tuition rates for their college education, Aranda published an informative and forceful opinion piece, one of several she has written on the topic.

    She said, “You don’t know what impact it [the op-ed] has” on public opinion and lawmakers. She shared her research on the devastating effect that denying young people access to in-state tuition has on them, their families, and the country as a whole because of what she referred to as “wasted talent,” (also the title of her opinion piece). She said her editorial is “not just an opinion that I have, [it’s] rooted in my research. Research that can benefit the community.”

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    From “the Projects” to Gray’s Project: A Profile of Louis Gray

    By Bonnie Beth Silvestri, JD, Director of Strategic Communications

    “Just call Louis.”

    Louis GrayLouis Gray is the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships “go-to” person in USF Registrar’s Office, helping OCEP fulfill its mission to support the service-learning curriculum on campus. Gray, the Registrar’s Office’s Academic Services Administrator, has been working behind the scenes, under the leadership of his supervisor Tony Embry and USF Registrar Angela Debose, coding each service-learning class offered on campus in Banner, the university’s administrative information system.

    Once the courses are coded, students are able to easily find service-learning offerings in OASIS; and OCEP can calculate the number of service-learning course sections and students enrolled. During the last academic school year, there were 188 sections of service-learning courses coded in the system, and over 4,000 students enrolled in these courses, which is a significant increase thanks to outreach efforts by OCEP and the Registrar’s Office.

    And, it is no surprise that OCEP can count on Gray to help with these efforts, because he “gets it,” and he lives it. A natural connector, Gray said, “I’m the type to bring the community together.”

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    Service-Learning Champion Dr. Kelly Page Werder Puts Research into Practice

    By Bonnie Silvestri, JD, Director of Strategic Communications

    Dr. Kelly Page Werder, Associate Professor of Mass Communications, has fully integrated service-learning into her coursework. She firmly believes it is crucial for students in her courses to gain real-world experience and to feel a sense of civic responsibility for the Tampa Bay community. Over the past several years, her students have developed strategic communications plans for over eighty local and campus organizations.

    Dr. Kelly Page Werder

    Dr. Kelly Page Werder

    Werder realized early on in her teaching career that her field, an applied discipline, which prepares students to become public relations and advertising professionals, is ideally suited to the service-learning pedagogy. Rather than assigning students hypothetical case studies of organizations, she gets them involved in examining real, current issues faced by local organizations in our community.

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    Featured Student: LaDonna Gleason on Field Experiences, Service-Learning, and Undergraduate Research

    ladonna2 by Julia Poholek, Humanities Internship Program

    In the grand scope of experiential learning, it seems that most courses are tailored to intrigue the student and teach them valuable lessons through on-site projects and interactions. However, the results of such courses prove to be all the more profound when they end up shaping the student’s entire field of study. Such is the case with LaDonna Gleason, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. LaDonna participated in the 2014 USF Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium, where I sat down with her to hear her thoughts on experiential learning courses and their potential impacts on students.

    “I didn’t set out as an undergrad saying I really wanted to research suicide, mental illness, and the problems inherent in those subjects. I realized, ‘Hey, I really love psychology. Let me learn more about that,’” LaDonna recalls fondly. “I met a TA who said they needed a research assistant for their lab. Within six months, I was hooked.” Through this new, unexpected interest, she encountered a hands-on opportunity to delve deeper into the practice of helping those in need.

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    "Uncommon Practice" exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art was a community-engaged triumph

    by Bonnie Silvestri, JD, Director of Strategic Communications

    The USF Institute for Research in Art is an umbrella entity on campus that includes the Contemporary Art Museum (“USFCAM”), Graphicstudio, and the Public Art program, each of which engages in important work connecting USF with the community, which we will be highlighting in an ongoing Art and Society series.

    USFCAM recently collaborated with the Tampa Museum of Art to form a unique partnership to exhibit the outstanding work that has come out of this very special, research-based atelier located right on USF campus. The partnership for the exhibition entitled “Uncommon Practice: Graphicstudio at USF” was unprecedented, and was an important acknowledgement of the significance of the work of Graphicstudio, taking place right here in Tampa Bay.Brushstroke Chair B

    Graphicstudio began in 1968 as the brainchild of Donald Saff, who developed what Peter Foe, Curator of the Collection of the USF Contemporary Art Museum, calls the “premiere house for experimentation in printmaking.” Because it is located on the campus, Graphicstudio offers artists easy access to interdisciplinary research facilities throughout the campus as well as some of the finest facilities and master printmakers in the world.

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    Opportunities to intern in the nation's capital, the state's capital, or here at home are easily accessible and available to USF students

    Dr. Joan Pynes, Professor in the School of Public Affairs, is the faculty liaison to three major internship programs. She strongly believes every student should seriously consider applying for at least one during his or her time at USF.

    The Washington Center Internship Program

    The Washington Center is a marquee program enabling college students to live and work in the nation’s capital during the fall, spring, or summer semester. Pynes emphasizes that The Washington Center is a wrap-around program, giving students an opportunity to take unique classes with Center faculty, live onsite, develop a self-selected civic engagement project, and work in a professional internship in any one of 1,000 sites in the DC area.

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    Facts and Data Carry the Day in the Fight Against Poverty

    More than fifty attendees piled into the conference room eager to continue working collectively on alleviating poverty as a follow-up to the January The Poverty of Poverty Intervention: Doing More with Less meeting sponsored by the USF Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships.

    “It is wonderful to see gathered here so many people who are so passionate about something so depressing,” said Dr. Lance Arney, OCEP Associate Director.

    Arney announced that the Reporting Back to the Community report released on April 22nd was the direct result of feedback from the community; and he stated that among the strongest recommendations was the need to create action groups. He said that participants reiterated, “Let’s actually do something” outside the scope of convened meetings.

    A Poverty Action Working Group focusing on Program Evaluation and Asset Mapping.

    A Poverty Action Working Group focusing on Asset Management and Evaluation.

    The Poverty Action Groups represent an opportunity for faculty and community members to think on a larger scale about the structural inequities leading to widespread poverty experienced in our community. The time has come to consider how we might coalesce around major issues to make changes in legislation and policy.

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    Convening Internship Directors

    Faculty and staff who are responsible for helping to connect students with internship opportunities gathered to discuss best practices on April 30, 2014. As was noted at the event, internship opportunities differ across disciplines with variables ranging from whether or not the internship is credit-bearing to whether it is paid or unpaid. What all internships have in common is that they are an important part of a student’s education.

    Diane Mellon, a career counselor who coordinates the Co-Operative Education Program in Career Services, gave a presentation on Risk Management and Legal Concerns. Among her suggestions was that internship directors and coordinators focus on “matching” students with opportunities rather than “placing” them. The greater the university’s involvement in determining where a student will intern, the greater the risk should the opportunity be less than fruitful for the student and/or the organization with which the student is placed. However, internship directors should feel free to do their best to help shape the most optimal internship opportunities that they can for their students and vet the organizations to ensure they are an appropriate place for students to intern.

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    Life is Better Together for Service-Learning Students

    “None of you look like you are on the verge of a panic attack,” communications professor Tasha Rennels wryly declared, as her Communication, Culture, and Community students prepared to present to their classmates and community partners the results of their semester-long service projects. She kept the proceedings light as each group shared their experiences working with local not-for-profit organizations, which in many cases clearly had a transformative effect on these students.

    Professor Tasha Rennels teaches a service-learning course, Communication, Culture, and Community.

    Professor Tasha Rennels teaches a service-learning course, Communication, Culture, and Community.

    Collectively, the class served 425 hours in ten local community groups ranging from Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to Kids Charity of Tampa Bay to Support our Troops. Early in the semester, the students wrote in their service journals about their passions, career goals, and personal interests; and Rennels paired them in small groups to work with organizations that suited their objectives. This was Rennels’ first service-learning class, and by all accounts, it was a huge success. In fact, she is already offering the course again in the 2014 Summer B session beginning in late June.

    “I am incredibly proud of the work they have done and grateful to the community partners who are here,” said Rennels. “This is an opportunity to share what the students have done, and not keep it to themselves.

    In fact, end of the semester presentations are a central part of a service-learning course. It is important to celebrate the work of the students as well as to help spread awareness about the often-unsung services provided by our not-for-profit sector. It also, as Rennels said, gives students a chance “to reflect on what they’ve gained” and may impact their career or the kinds of service to the community they choose to provide in the future. End of semester presentations, with community partners in attendance, can help elevate the importance of service-learning as well as the quality of work service-learning students can provide.

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    Poverty, Inequality & Community Engagement Action Groups Meeting

    (Follow-up to the Poverty of Poverty Intervention event. To read our Reporting Back to the Community report, click here. To read the executive summary of the report, click here.)

    We would like to remind everyone that our first Poverty, Inequality & Community Engagement Action Groups Meeting is this Thursday, May 8th. If you plan to participate, please RSVP at your earliest convenience (to RSVP, click here). We will be providing light refreshments and will need a close estimate of the number of participants when we place our food order.

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    Telling Our Stories: Exploring Fanni Green’s Community Engaged Production of “the road weeps”

    USF Theatre professor Fanni Green may have thought that a production of Marcus Gardley’s the road weeps, the well runs dry would be impossible to stage on campus, but she “fell in love with his words” and didn’t let the impossible stand in her way. On a bit of a lark, she applied for a grant from the Lark Play Development Center, and she got it.

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    Featured Student: Melissa Ortiz on Service-Learning

    by Julia Poholek, Humanities Internship Program

    Ever wondered what it would be like serve your community while earning college credit at the same time? Just ask Melissa Ortiz, a senior here at USF. She’s no stranger to service-learning courses, having been in two of them during her time as an undergrad. I sat down with Melissa to get a fresh take on the world of experiential learning outside the classroom and gain a better understanding of this high-impact* method of education.

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    Featured Student: Erika Kozak on Internships

    by Julia Poholek, Humanities Internship Program

    Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be involved with preserving some of the most powerful stories in history? What about doing such important work and getting academic credit at the same time? Erika Kozak is more than familiar with the experience. As an undergraduate student here at the USF, she’s scheduled to graduate this Spring with her BA in Humanities and Cultural Studies and a certificate in Film Studies. For the past two semesters, she’s been an intern at the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. While a position at the Florida Holocaust Museum holds a variety of unique opportunities for learning about museum and curator work, it’s not all about the academics for Erika.

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    Featured Student: Daniel Ross on Field Experiences

    by Julia Poholek, Humanities Internship Program

    When you think of Elementary Education, you might assume that the most effective learning method for student teachers would be to actually go to a school and see how things work from a firsthand perspective. After all, a classroom is where they’ll presumably end up in the future, given their chosen major. The benefits of such an opportunity are inarguable – an impact that Daniel Ross, a sophomore at USF, can still feel after having taken a field experience course in the Spring 2013 semester.

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    “Semesterly” Service-Learning Workshop for Community Organizations and USF Faculty (April 7, 2014)

    You spoke and we listened. In an effort to help facilitate partnership building at a grassroots level, the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (“OCEP”) responded to feedback from current and potential community partners and inaugurated a new program called a “Semesterly” Service-Learning Workshop for Community Organizations and USF Faculty.

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    Careers in Aging: “An event that serves so many purposes”

    The School of Aging Studies is among the many departments on our campus with demonstrated highly effective community-engagement programming.  Perhaps because the school itself is interdisciplinary with faculty specializing in a range of disciplines, year after year, they seem to outdo themselves in their efforts to engage faculty and students with the local community.

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    Public Sociology: What Role Should Sociology Play in Justice?

    Dr. Jim Cavendish with Dr. Susan Greenbaum and Dr. Stephen Turner, the guest speakers for the event.

    Dr. Jim Cavendish with Dr. Susan Greenbaum and Dr. Stephen Turner, the guest speakers for the event.

    What role should sociology play in justice? This question and the concept of “public sociology” were the topics of discussion in a recent gathering convened by the Sociology Department on November 12 as part of its colloquium series. The event was hosted by Dr. Jim Cavendish, Associate Professor of Sociology, and featured guest speakers Dr. Stephen Turner, Distinguished University Professor in the Philosophy Department, and Dr. Susan Greenbaum, Professor Emerita in the Anthropology Department. The event was held in the stately Grace Allen Room in the USF Library. Close to fifty faculty and students were in attendance.

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    Latino Communities in Old and New Destinations: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives to Assessing the Impact of Legal Reforms

    Latino Communities in Old and New Destinations, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort Golf Club

    Latino Communities in Old and New Destinations, at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort Golf Club

    On Friday, November 8, students, faculty, and community activists gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance Saint Petersburg Resort & Golf Club for the Latino Communities in Old and New Destinations: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives to Assessing the Impact of Legal Reforms conference. Dr. Elizabeth Aranda from the Sociology Department at USF hosted the event. Faculty from all over the country gathered to discuss and share their presentations on the inequalities Latin American citizens face in America and the growing need for immigration reform.

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    Service-Learning Day, March 6, 2014

    Sponsored by the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships (OCEP), the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE), and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE).

     Second Annual Service-Learning Day

    Join us on Thursday, March 6, from 8:45am-1:00pm!

    Marshall Center, Room 3711

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    Poverty and Inequality: A Forum on Research, Action, and Community Engagement

    What are the challenges involved in poverty research and activism? How do we counter misinformation and misleading stereotypes about poverty? How can the university engage with the community in constructive dialogue about the causes, consequences, and best ways to alleviate poverty?

    Two panels of USF researchers and educators pondered these questions in the context of their own work studying poverty, inequality, and related problems in the areas of health, housing, employment, criminal justice, and education—the last with a focus on disparities in educational access by low-income children in poorly resourced schools. Poverty and Inequality: A Forum on Research, Action, and Community Engagement succeeded in bringing together close to 50 USF faculty, staff, and students, in addition to 12 panelists and moderators. They discussed ways to begin a multidisciplinary research-to-action program at USF that engages non-profits, elected officials, public agencies, and community residents, as well as to establish resources for teaching, research, and community partnerships that are evidence-based and reflective of local history and circumstances.

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    The University Experience course: Cultivating engagement in first-year students

    The most valuable aspect of this class was learning about different service opportunities in the community and doing the service-learning project. It felt really good to do something for someone else.

    The service project was really fun and connected me to my class.

    To me, the most valuable learning exercise was when we had to do a service project.

    The course is titled University Experience (UE), and these are but a few examples of positive feedback UE students gave about the service component of the course. UE is a two-credit elective course designed specifically for first-year students to welcome them to USF, and it helps them explore the overall building blocks needed for success in college and in life.

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    Research that Matters: Community Engaged Research Poster Session and Contest

    A pdf of the following instructions and guidelines can be downloaded by clicking here.

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Patel Center for Global Solutions, Auditorium (Room 131), 1st Floor

    Competition open to all degree-seeking USF graduate

    The Office of Community Engagement has initiated an annual conference series entitled “Research that Matters.” This year the theme is Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Economic Impacts of University–Community Engagement. The conference will take place on Tuesday, October 22, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, in the Patel Center for Global Solutions. Posters need to be put on display between 8:30-9:00 am. The graduate student poster session and contest will be held from 11:30 to 12:30. The contest is open to all graduate students, and winners will receive awards. It is not necessary for the posters to be about the specific theme of the conference, but they do need to be about community engaged research, on any topic, being done by USF graduate students. We hope that the poster session will further strengthen our community engaged network of graduate students and faculty.

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    Research that Matters: Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Economic Impacts of University–Community Engagement

    A pdf of the following instructions and guidelines can be downloaded by clicking here.

    Request for Roundtable Proposals

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

    Patel Center for Global Solutions, Auditorium (Room 131), 1st Floor

    Research that Matters (RtM) is the research initiative of the University of South Florida’s Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships. We seek to support and spotlight academically rigorous research that addresses the causes and consequences of real world problems, that seeks solutions to these problems, and that is carried out in partnership with community stakeholders. Our Research that Matters annual conference series brings together university researchers and Tampa Bay area practitioners to discuss pressing regional concerns, focusing on how research can support practice in a variety of fields.

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    Poverty and Inequality

    A Forum on Research, Action, and Community Engagement

    Thursday, September 26, 2013

    9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    BSN 225 (Multipurpose Room)

    What are the challenges involved in poverty research and activism?

    How do we counter misinformation and misleading stereotypes about poverty?

    What are the best ways to engage with residents, funders, and service providers?

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    USDA makes site visit to Sulphur Springs community initiative

    On July 15th, the Sulphur Springs community was honored by a visit from Kevin Concannon, the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under Secretary Concannon’s office became aware of Creating a Healthier Sulphur Springs for Kids (CHSSK) through information found on the internet and was interested in learning more about CHSSK and efforts to improve food security in Sulphur Springs. CHSSK is a coalition of service providers that formed after the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA was awarded an Embrace a Healthy Florida grant in 2010 from the Florida Blue Foundation to promote healthy living in Sulphur Springs through programming that addresses childhood obesity.

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    New library will feature African American research archives and cultural arts

    The Robert W. Saunders, Sr. Public Library, located at 1505 North Nebraska Avenue, adjacent to Booker T. Washington Elementary School, will be torn down this fall and replaced with a larger, two-story facility that will house an African American Research Library and an African American Cultural Arts Center. Four public meetings have already been held in order to allow the community to provide input into the design of the building. Construction on the new library will begin in early 2014; it is scheduled to open in December 2014. A grand opening, with a nationally renowned guest speaker, is being planned for March 2015.

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    Major plans underway at the Ybor City Museum Society

    The Ybor City Museum Society (YCMS), founded in 1982, will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, hosting an Anniversary Gala at the historic Italian Club on September 28. The YCMS’s mission is to preserve, promote and celebrate the unique cultural heritage of Ybor City and to support the Ybor City Museum State Park.

    The YCMS has several major programs and projects under development, including a new permanent Cultural Exhibit on the five immigrant ethnic groups that settled Ybor City and the mutual aid societies those immigrants founded. The Cultural Exhibit opens on October 17th.

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    Ybor Youth Clinic reaches out to youth who are homeless, GLBTQ, or HIV-infected

    The Ybor City area, with its vibrant nightlife and entertainment venues, attracts many young people from diverse backgrounds. Among the usual flow of visitors are youth who are living in difficult circumstances, including homelessness. The GLBTQ-friendly establishments of the GaYBOR business district also provide a welcoming social atmosphere for youth who face rejection elsewhere because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Indeed, sometimes these populations overlap: according to a national study produced by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law in 2012, of the clientele served by homeless youth organizations, 40% identify as GLBTQ, with family rejection being the most common contributing factor to homelessness.

    Recognizing the need for a welcoming and respectful place for underserved youth in Tampa Bay who might not feel comfortable in traditional health care settings, the Ybor Youth Clinic (YYC) opened last year to provide health care to HIV positive and high-risk youth; gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth (GLBTQ); homeless and street youth; and sexually exploited youth. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, and other high-level public officials.

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    Casa Chiapas: Community engagement through a Plaza Comunitaria

    Casa Chiapas opened its doors just over a year ago, and already it has outgrown its present facilities due to the need for more services in the local community. Located in the heart of the University Area, Casa Chiapas provides English and Spanish classes for adults, GED preparation, computer classes, and much-needed assistance with immigration and health care paperwork, all free-of-charge for the Spanish-speaking population of Tampa. Casa Chiapas also celebrates Chiapan culture and helps to maintain community and transnational ties.

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    USF History Department holds workshop with high school social studies teachers

    The fourth Professional Development Workshop for high school teachers (“La Retaguardia de Tampa: The Spanish Civil War and Its Impact on Florida, U.S. and World History”) was held at USF on May 15, 2013.

    Conducted by USF’s Dr. Fraser Ottanelli and Dr. Peter N. Carroll (Stanford University) the workshop was jointly sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and the USF Department of History with the support of the Hillsborough and Pasco County School districts.

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    School of Aging Studies hosts Careers in Aging networking event

    On the afternoon of March 20th, over 100 faculty, students, and community partners mingled in the Atrium Lobby of the Behavioral and Community Sciences Building during the annual Careers in Aging networking event, hosted by the School of Aging Studies and organized by Dr. Brianne Stanback (Instructor and Internship Program Director).

    Not only the turnout was impressive; the collegiality that permeated the socializing was invigorating. The success of Careers in Aging demonstrates the wealth of returns that can come from a significant and sustained investment in partnership building—an art that Stanback has clearly mastered, if not perfected.

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    Three 2012-2013 Challenge Grants use engaged research to study food, diet, and health

    Three Graduate Student Research Challenge Grant projects selected for funding in 2012-2013 used community engaged research methods to study food, diet, and health. The Graduate School and the Office of Research and Innovation award Challenge Grants in an effort to build leaders through excellence in collaborative graduate education and research. A team of students submits proposals for one-year projects; at least two of the students must be from two different colleges. The collaborative projects provide students with opportunities to develop research skills that will allow them to excel in their chosen fields.

    Steven Williams applying  anthropological methods to the smelly business of food waste research

    Steven Williams applying
    anthropological methods to the smelly business of food waste research

    Towards Sustainability in Food Service: Food Waste Reduction and Recycling for Energy and Fertilizer Use at an Environmental Charter School involved constructing and operating a pilot anaerobic digester to recover the nutrients and energy from the food waste at the cafeteria of Learning Gate Community School in Lutz. The mission of Learning Gate is to promote academic excellence, community service, and environmental responsibility, making it the perfect partner with which to develop an innovative learning platform for sustainable food waste management.

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    USF Engineering students address local environmental issues, win recognition

    Under the direction of Dr. Sarina Ergas, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, two student teams have been awarded first prize by the Florida Water Environmental Association, and they will go on to represent Florida in a national competition.

    The USF environmental team consisted of Erin Morrison (PM), Caitlin Hoch, Josh Becker, Miki Skinner, and Brett French. They investigated storm water improvements to alleviate nitrogen over-enrichment in the Booker Creek Watershed in St. Pete.

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    USF’s English Language Program presents at Sunshine State TESOL Conference

    Congratulations to USF English Language Program’s instructors Krista Bittenbender Royal, Justyna Kikowska, Kristen McGreger, Laura Murphy, and Sangita Victor on their presentation, “Developing a Service-Learning Course for IEP Students,” at the Sunshine State TESOL Conference held in Orlando this May.

    In the summer of 2012, Bittenbender Royal and team met to examine the ways in which service-learning could be implemented in USF’s Intensive English Program (IEP). They began with the premise that service-learning is a great way for English Language Learners to get involved in the community, develop interpersonal communication skills, and learn about social and civic issues.

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    Congratulations to service-learning students in the English Language Program

    [Service-learning] gives opportunities for students to volunteer with non-profit organizations that provide services to individuals or communities. It’s a way for students to develop their skills not only in the classroom but also in the community.

    I chose to take this course with a great desire to serve and help a community, and I expected the class to encourage me to do that. This elective allowed me to see the world with a new vision: how other people may live in really difficult conditions, and we do not have any clue about their lives and difficulties that they have been through every day.

    Many people donate with their money. They do not know how donating their time can bring much happiness to others. I’ve been enjoying my time to be part of a community, and that’s one simple reason to help others.

    Duaa Ashoor, USF English Language Program

    (from left to right) Huang Wanying, Li Xin, and Li Lisha

    (from left to right) Huang Wanying, Li Xin, and Li Lisha

    As the above reflections attest, service-learning not only provides valuable experiential learning opportunities for students and meaningful service to the community, it also nurtures empathy and broadens perspectives on society and social issues. Service-learning can foster a sense of personal fulfilment and be, quite simply, fun!

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    The Institute on Black Life’s African American Neighborhoods Project

    Tampa Mayor Nick Nuccio with Safety Patrol, circa 1960

    Tampa Mayor Nick Nuccio with Safety Patrol, circa 1960

    In the fall of 2012, the Institute on Black Life (IBL) initiated a project that explores diverse perspectives on Tampa’s African American neighborhoods. “Our Stories Are Here” is one component of a larger study, the African American Neighborhoods Project, in which data on demographics, history, mobility, and economic conditions will be collected and made accessible to local residents and to an interdisciplinary body of scholars interested in these issues locally, statewide, and regionally.

    This study asks questions about the lives of people who live in historically Black neighborhoods, including residents’ historical relationships to these neighborhoods and how people feel about the future of life in Black communities. Most importantly, the residents of Progress Village and Carver City-Lincoln Gardens play a critical role in setting the agenda for the project and in communicating how the project can benefit their communities.

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    Stories to Tell

    Theatre Professor Fanni Green is conducting workshops to help people share their personal and community-related experiences.

    Professor Green leads a workshop titled "Remember, Write, & Tell: Interweaving the Person and the Community through Storytelling and Song." She engaged some members of University Village, a senior living community not far from the USF Tampa campus.

    Professor Green leads a workshop titled "Remember, Write, & Tell: Interweaving the Person and the Community through Storytelling and Song." She engaged some members of University Village, a senior living community not far from the USF Tampa campus.

    By Barbara Melendez
    USF News

    TAMPA, Fla. (July 16, 2013) – “Stories are in our DNA – since time immemorial,” observes USF Theatre Professor Fanni Green. But many stories from people with a lot of years and adventures behind them are often lost to posterity. Doing her best to help stem that loss, Green is working with three groups that will have a chance to benefit from her talent and experience with the art of telling personal stories.

    Storytelling workshops, under the heading, “Remember, Write and Tell: Interweaving the Person and the Community through Storytelling and Song,” will be offered to the public through community radio station WMNF August 3 and 10. Green initiated the workshops July 8 at University Village, a senior living community in Tampa. The VA Hospital’s Voice of Recovery program will take part July 29, Aug. 5 and 19.

    “People’s stories identify them, give them a place to be from, and enrich their families and their communities as well as help them see themselves in a new light at times,” Green said.

    She was inspired to create the workshops to fulfill the community engagement component of her participation in New York’s Lark Play Development Center’s “Launching New Plays into the Repertoire” project.

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    School leftovers don't go to waste

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    Students make mini-digesters for their school.

    At the Learning Gate Community School in Lutz, students are learning the importance of recycling food waste. Robert Bair, who is Ph.D. student, and Dr. Daniel Yeh, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at USF, have introduced innovative practices to integrate the school's waste into a renewable energy source. It takes about 30 pounds of uneaten food and turns garbage into biogas and fertilizer. Then, the fertilizer goes toward growing vegetables in the school's greenhouse, and eventually, the biogas will help power the school. The students are taking part in the project by making mini-digesters of their own to understand how the process works. They will have a "recycling in action" experience that will make a difference in the way they think about school leftovers.

    Find the full story at http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2013/4/29/school_leftovers_don.html.

     

     

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    Service-Learning Day, March 7, 2013

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    Elizabeth Strom and Leandra Preston-Sidler

    On March 7th, the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships, along with the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, hosted Service-Learning Day. Dr. Kevin Yee, Director of ATLE, served as moderator.

    Nearly thirty faculty and instructors—some coming from as far as USF Sarasota-Manatee—attended the event. Service-Learning Day featured a breakfast roundtable discussion on experiential models in the STEM fields, several presentations on developing service-learning courses, and a featured guest presentation by Leandra Preston-Sidler (University of Central Florida), who was awarded the 2012 Service Learning Faculty Member of the Year Award for the State University Sector by Florida Campus Compact.

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    Women’s and Gender Studies Internship Showcase

    The coordinated internship program in Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) enrolled its first students during the summer 2012 semester, but it has already affected the lives of countless individuals, providing 4,000 hours of community engagement with 23 different community partners. This success is due in no small part to the research and preparation invested in the internship program by dedicated director Christie Rinck. On December 4th, Rinck, joined by student interns and their organizational sponsors, proudly showcased the work they accomplished while thanking sponsors for providing valuable mentorship.

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    USF Shines at the Florida Campus Compact Retreat

    Last November, the Florida Campus Compact held its annual Community Service Directors Retreat at The University of Tampa, attracting university–community engagement specialists from around the state. USF faculty, graduate students, and community partners were present throughout the three-day event, and led two of the Retreat’s sessions.

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    USF undergraduate alumna published in new community engagement journal

    Paola at Moses House.

    Paola at Moses House.

    Congratulations to Paola Gonzalez on the publication of her reflective essay in the inaugural issue of the new online journal Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community Based Research. Entitled “Seeing Social Problems through the Eyes of Community Members: Reflections on Community-Based Service Learning at Moses House,” Paola explains how understanding the experiences and perspectives of children in the context of their everyday lives allowed her to connect neighborhood issues to larger societal problems.

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    Introduction to Urban Studies Final Presentations

    The Introduction to Urban Studies course led by Professor Robin Jones has been a great success at USF during the fall 2012 semester. For children and families in the Sulphur Springs community it has been inspirational. With the help of civic organizations, students got the opportunity to understand the reality of urbanization affecting people and their communities.

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    USF student takes part in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program.

    Students prepared to go into the community by reading Geoffrey Canada’s Fist Stick Gun Knife, learning about successful school programs as  concentric circles that can turn around a community. With their knowledge from the classroom, students were able to get a deeper understanding of living situations for children and families in the Sulphur Springs area by volunteering at community centers.

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    Research Ethics and IRB Processes for Community Based Research Workshop

    2012-11-30_10_16_50On November 30, Associate Professors Eric Buhi and Stephanie Marhefka of the College of Public Health shared their research experiences with 35 student, staff and faculty researchers. Both work with community partners across the state (Dr. Buhi with schools; Dr. Marhefka with community health centers) and both address research questions that are of interest to scholars and community stakeholders. Following their presentations, Olivia Hart and Cheryl Byer of the USF Institutional Review Board explained the review process for community-based human subject research, and provided helpful tips for successful review of research proposals.

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    From Volunteering, to Award Winning Research

    Community Engagement Can Go A Long Way!

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    Professor McBrien receiving the prestigious FL|CC award.

    Jody Lynn McBrien, Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, was awarded the Engagement Scholarship Research Award by the Florida Campus Compact, recognition of scholarly research that also brings real benefit to vulnerable communities. Her research, focused on refugees affected by the disruptive climates of civil revolutions and political warfare, helps teen refugees as they adjust to life in the United States.

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    Summer 2012 WGS Intern Projects

    Intern:   Mary Catherine Bertulfo
    Sponsor:  Youth Education Services (Y.E.S.)

    MaryCatherineBPoloMy primary objective is to create a transition toolkit which will be used to address topics with HIV infected youth that are necessary for a successful transition from pediatric care to adult services.  Topics include establishing a medication routine, learning how to make medical appointments, learning about dating violence, and keeping healthy habits and a positive attitude.  Through the Y.E.S. program, I was able to receive State certification training that will allow me to do testing for HIV and provide counseling for HIV infected youth. Issues concerning stigma, body image and access to services for marginalized people have been discussed in WGS courses I have taken.  The courses have also prepared me to work with many different people in the community including sex workers and transgendered individuals.  The internship provided me with the valuable opportunity to gain experience with working in the public health sector.  I plan to apply for a Masters of Public Health program after graduation.

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    Engagement In Action: Service Learning Leads to More Opportunities

    Tiffany-GardolfoTiffany Gandolfo is no stranger to community service. She has spent many hours as a volunteer and found kindred spirits in her service sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma. However, before she came to the University of South Florida she had not had the opportunity to participate in a service-learning course. An Orlando native, she joined USF as a PhD student in the Anthropology Department

    Tiffany’s first experience with service-learning occurred in her Community Development course.  Tiffany explained, “I wasn’t really aware it was going to be a service learning course. I had really just started learning what that meant. I mainly took the course to learn more about Tampa neighborhoods.” When asked what she thought upon discovering there was a service element to the course she responded, “I thought it was a great idea to have community engaged components of a course and give back. I was excited. I wanted that hands on experience and I like interacting with people.”

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    Doing The Right Thing: Ethical Concerns in Community Based Research

    The Office of Community Engagement presents Doing The Right Thing: Ethical Concerns in Community Based Research.

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