A grant from the Bonner Foundation has motivated students and faculty to promote cooperation between the University and the community.
According to Associate Dean of the College Howard Dobin, the Bonner Foundation, a Princeton-based service organization, has received a large "Learn and Serve" grant from the Corporation of National Service.
This funding will be distributed to a number of colleges and universities nationwide "to serve as feed money to encourage them to implement community-based learning," Dobin said.
The University has $11,000 that will be renewable annually for a period of three years, Dobin added. To make efficient use of the funding, the University founded the Community-Based Learning Initiative, which will oversee the distribution of funds.
The board is composed of faculty members, campus leaders and community figures. Those involved include sociology professor Miguel Centeno, chemistry professor Thomas Spiro and Student Volunteers Council administrator Eleanor Harrison.
"Basically, the board serves as a catalyst of sorts," Dobin explained. "They work to administer funds and coordinate efforts around campus to promote community service."
The funding will permit new opportunities for community service involvement to be incorporated into the curriculum. Courses such as CHM 112: "From Ozone to Oil Spills: A Chemical Perspective on the Environment," FRS 130w: "Race and Democratic Discourse" and Rockefeller College Seminar 308: "Race, Poverty and Public Policy" are among those currently taking advantage of CBLI.
"The whole idea is that there are many courses whose topics lend to getting out and doing research within the community instead of in the library," Dobin said.
Professor Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, a residential college seminar leader, said her students will be travelling to Trenton to work with students at the Young Scholars Institute.
"This organization presented us with needs. Many of these organizations lack the time or personnel it takes to get the job done," said Fernandez-Kelly. "College students are an enormous, bountiful resource."
Students are also involved in key leadership positions in the CBLI administration. The University also has hired two community research assistants as well.
"These are undergraduates working with faculty members to encourage linkage between community organizations, professors and course material," Dobin said.