Category Archives: Service-Learning

Pellissippi State volunteers generate nearly $817,600 in economic impact

Pellissippi State Community College’s student volunteers have generated an estimated $817,569.88 in economic impact during the past year, according to the estimated state value of volunteer time.

Through participation in its Service-Learning program, Pellissippi State recorded 2,867 student volunteers in the 2013-2014 academic year. Service-learning integrates community service with more traditional learning experiences. The program’s primary goals are to teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.

“What’s even more impressive than the economic impact of our students’ volunteer time,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and an English professor, “are the consistently positive things students have to say about how that service experience helped them find career focus and deep motivation during their college journey.
coach baby bags
“Based on the projects I have seen them do, I am convinced that service-learning experiences inspire college students to strive hard and think deeply about their subjects from multiple points of view. That’s pretty exciting.”

The economic impact of students’ hours was calculated using the dollar value the state places on volunteer time: $20.13 per hour. Using the federal estimate of $22.55 for volunteer service, the Service-Learning students contributed $915,856.97 to the local economy. Gray estimates that even more students participated in volunteer work than the total reflects, but that they didn’t report their hours in the college’s ServiceCorps program, which collects and reports such hours.

The benefits for students of participation in community service go beyond economics.

According to the findings of more than 900 anonymous surveys, students overwhelmingly believe that community service reinforces their desire to earn a college degree and that it motivates them to be better students. More than 80 percent prefer courses that incorporate some type of community service into the curriculum.

The vast majority also feel that civic engagement is essential to a successful academic and professional life.
http://www.nikeoutletshoesshop.us
“At Pellissippi State, we incentivize giving back to the community while pursuing a higher education,” Gray said. “Students’ verified service hours are listed on their student transcripts, which shows a future employer or a transfer institution how well-rounded an applicant really is.”

For more information about Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about the college’s academic programs, go to www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State’s Civic Engagement Week introduces ‘Good Food For All’

Pellissippi State Community College invites the community to join the fun during Civic Engagement Week, Sept. 10-17, with events that profile community service, sustainability, and local and regional food and agriculture.

Local and national speakers will highlight the week, whose theme is “Good Food For All.” All events are free and open to the community, and all take place on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The weeklong series of events is being hosted by the college’s Service-Learning program.
louis vuitton cheap
The annual Call2Service Volunteer Fair kicks off the week. Community partners will be in the Courtyard and the Goins Building College Center sharing ways students and employees can volunteer in the community. The fair is 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Sept. 10.

The National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11 features a brief address from Capt. Bill Robinson, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war. His presentation and a moment of silence begin at 9 a.m. in the Courtyard.

Chad Hellwinckel delivers a lecture titled “Wanted: 10,000 Lunatic Farmers!” 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, in the Goins Building Auditorium. Hellwinckel is founder of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild and a research assistant professor at the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center of the University of Tennessee.

Jennifer Jones, president and CEO of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, speaks 12:25-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, on “Global Food Politics: Sovereignty From Farm to Fork,” in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex.

The week closes with a Constitution Day presentation by David Key, a Pellissippi State history professor. The talk is titled “Citizen Farmer: Thomas Jefferson’s Agrarianism.” The lecture is 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Goins Building Auditorium. Free pocket Constitutions will be available for attendees.
new balance 903
Each of Pellissippi State’s four site campuses—Blount County, Division Street, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains—will host additional events during Civic Engagement Week. A full listing is available on the calendar at www.pstcc.edu.

Now in its fourth year, the Service-Learning program allows Pellissippi State students and faculty to integrate meaningful community service and reflection with more traditional learning experiences, teaching civic responsibility and strengthening communities.

For more information about Service-Learning, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State, community partners team up for ‘Good Food For All’

3 people around some vegetables.
Pellissippi State Community College students, from left, Juls Jackson, Roxmin Lakhani and Cindy Lozano help harvest food at the Pond Gap Elementary School community garden. Pellissippi State founded the garden in 2013.

This fall, Pellissippi State Community College begins a year of collaboration with five area partners working on community school support and food access outreach projects.

The college’s Service-Learning program, with support from the Sustainable Campus Initiative, kicks off the “Good Food For All” campaign during Civic Engagement Week, Sept. 10-17.

“This project is upping the ante on Pellissippi State’s connections to the community and our outreach into poverty alleviation and education efforts outside our campuses,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator.

“We will be working to create awareness of East Tennessee challenges to food security and good nutrition. Through these projects, we’ll connect Pellissippi State students and employees with community service opportunities. Together, we’ll support volunteer programming and nutrition initiatives in Knoxville’s new community schools—initiatives that are already under way to combat food security issues.”

During Civic Engagement Week, Pellissippi State will host events and speakers tied in to food access, sustainability, and community service. The week will include lectures and skill sharing on food security, organic gardening, permaculture, and careers in sustainability, food, agriculture, and human sciences. There will be harvesting events and speakers on topics as varied as Knoxville’s food scene and the agrarian heritage of the United States.

“We want to showcase opportunities for service in ways that relate to food, like community gardens, and stoke students’ fire for education as we spotlight career paths in sustainability, local food and agriculture, nutrition education, human sciences, and more,” Gray said.

But Civic Engagement Week is just the beginning.

Good Food For All continues throughout the year through the work of five AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, funded by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The VISTA volunteers will work at five area sites in poverty alleviation projects as they relate to food access and nutritional awareness. Elias Attea will work with Pond Gap Elementary, a participant in the University-Assisted Community Schools Program; Nicole Lewis, with Knoxville’s Great Schools Partnership; Caley Hyatt, with Knoxville-Knox County’s Food Policy Council; Jeremy Roberts, with the University of Tennessee-Tennessee State University Extension-Knox County; and Jennifer Hurst, with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee. 

“Food is a great place to start with the college’s poverty alleviation outreach projects,” said Gray, “because it is common ground we all share: we all need food, we all understand food. Sharing more knowledge about food gives people more power over their food supply; this bridges socioeconomic and demographic differences. There are a lot of community outreach and academic opportunities here.”

Through the CNCS grant, Pellissippi State will pay for one AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer’s time for the year. The five community partners will donate a portion of the funding for the four additional VISTA workers, and CNCS will cover the rest. VISTA volunteers are paid at the poverty level during their year of service.new balance 759

The community partnerships of Good Food For All are building on the foundation of Pellissippi State’s community garden at Pond Gap Elementary School. The garden has been used to grow food for the community, has served as an educational tool for the schoolchildren at Pond Gap and has been a place for Pellissippi State students to volunteer time in service. 

AmeriCorps VISTA was founded in 1965 as a national service program dedicated to fighting poverty. Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program allows students and faculty to integrate meaningful community service and reflection with more traditional learning experiences, with the underlying goals of teaching civic responsibility and strengthening communities. 

For more information about Pellissippi State or the Service-Learning program, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning/ or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State to dedicate Pond Gap Elementary community garden

Pond-Gap-Garden-Group

Pellissippi State Community College’s Service-Learning Program invites community members, students, families and volunteers to celebrate the conversion of lawn to garden plot at a ceremony at the Pond Gap Elementary School.

The community garden ceremony takes place 3-4 p.m. Monday, May 12, marking the official dedication of the Pellissippi State Edible Schoolyards Project launched last fall. The garden is an outreach project of the college’s Service-Learning program, in which students pair community service with classroom learning.

Through the community garden, students at Pond Gap have worked with Pellissippi State students and volunteers to learn about food insecurity, food access, and food production.

“The garden has been a great educational opportunity to the children here,” said Matt Callo, project manager of the garden and an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. “Even at a young age, their interest in the garden is immediate. I think it distills an interest in the field of agriculture—it’s awesome to see the initiatives they take.”

The dedication ceremony will include remarks from Tim Burchett, Knox County mayor; Madeline Rogero, Knoxville mayor; Jim McIntyre, Knox County Schools superintendent; L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president; and others.

“We are very proud of all we have accomplished in this inaugural year of the Pond Gap community garden,” said Annie Gray, English professor and Service-Learning coordinator.

“By partnering with the University of Tennessee University-Assisted Community Schools Program at Pond Gap Elementary and local businesses in the creation and support of a sustainable community garden project, the Service-Learning program is promoting urban agriculture education in the Pond Gap area.

“We hope it will be part of an economic stimulus effort rooted in the individual and communal sharing of resources.”

Through “edible curricula”–based school programming, community workshops, and Service-Learning projects, the Pond Gap community garden has served as a community demonstration space for fostering the skills needed to grow easily accessible and affordable produce for healthy lifestyles. Community participants have had the opportunity to hone their gardening skills, make new friends and even explored ways of making a viable career out of growing food.

For more information about Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State students, employees to participate in Ijams River Rescue

Pellissippi State Community College students and employees will spend the day on Saturday, April 5, cleaning East Tennessee’s waterways. The occasion is Ijams Nature Center’s River Rescue, and the Pellissippi State effort is being coordinated by the college’s Service-Learning program.

The team of students, faculty and staff will be on site 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Loves Creek, where Loves Creek Road meets Millertown Pike. The cleanup location is behind the ORNL Federal Credit Union and Food City, in Northeast Knoxville.

This year is Ijams’ 25th annual River Rescue. River Rescue places volunteers at more than 40 sites around the Knoxville metropolitan area to clean trash out of East Tennessee’s rivers, creeks and waterways. In 2013, more than 1,000 volunteers participated in the event.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. For more information about the River Rescue, visit www.ijams.org or call Ijams at (865) 577-4717 ext. 124.

Young filmmakers address making a difference at ‘Give a Damn?’ showing, Q&A

Poster with 3 young men, picture of the world, and information about eventCan you make a difference? Students and the community have the opportunity to pose that and other significant questions to three young activist filmmakers Pellissippi State Community College is hosting on Friday, Feb. 7.

The filmmakers will take part in a question-and-answer session after the showing of their feature-length documentary, “Give a Damn?” on the Hardin Valley Campus. Refreshments will be served at a reception with the trio following the film and Q&A.

“Give a Damn?” is a documentary about two idealistic friends who convince a third friend (who is not so sure he ‘gives a damn’) to join them as they attempt to immerse themselves in poverty while traveling across three continents. The filmmakers choose to subsist on $1.25 per day — the amount on which an average resident of Kibera, one of Kenya, Africa’s largest slums, lives.

“The goal,” explains the ‘Give a Damn?’ website, “was to make a funny, adventurous and compelling film about the ability young people have to make a difference in … poverty and injustice.”

The documentary stars the film’s creators: Dan Parris, a Biola University graduate and owner of Speak Up Productions LLC; David Peterka, founder of the nonprofit organization When The Saints; and Rob Lehr, a graduate of Missouri State University who operates Hambone Productions.

Lehr serves as the skeptic among the friends in the documentary, and the film ultimately makes the case that the current generation can have a profound impact on global social issues.

Parris, Peterka and Lehr will be present for the screening, which begins at 11:50 a.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium, as well as the Q&A and reception.

The event is open to everyone. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Parking is free and convenient.

The documentary screening is sponsored by Pellissippi State and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, with support from the college’s Service-Learning program.

TnCIS, which is based at the college, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. More than 425 students and 65 faculty from across Tennessee participated in TnCIS’ summer 2013 study abroad. There are 18 study abroad programs planned for summer 2014. For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280.

Now in its third year, the Service-Learning program allows Pellissippi State students and faculty to integrate meaningful community service and reflection with more traditional learning experiences, teaching civic responsibility and strengthening communities. For more information about Service-Learning, call (865) 694-6492 or email service-learning@pstcc.edu.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State–Pond Gap Elementary community garden needs volunteers

Volunteers are needed at two upcoming Saturday workdays for the Pond Gap Elementary School community garden, a project of Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program has partnered with Pond Gap and the University of Tennessee to install the garden at the elementary school, and now volunteers are needed to help bring shape to the area.

“In November, we’re going to be shaping out the contours of the raised beds throughout the one-sixth-acre garden, and we’ll be adding compost and mulch to the beds,” said Matt Callo. Callo, Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA for the college’s Service-Learning program, is the full-time supervisor for the garden project.

Workday volunteer opportunities are available to all community members, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 and 16. Volunteers can contact Callo for more information or to sign up. Those who can bring their own tools, such as shovels and rakes, for use on the workdays are encouraged to do so.

Work on Nov. 9 will include removing rock, composting and moving pine needle mulch. Work on Nov. 16 will include hilling up raised garden beds to be constructed along the natural contours of the land around Pond Gap. Each of the approximately 20 beds is 30 to 50 feet long.

The community garden serves not only as a volunteer opportunity for Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning students but also as a learning resource for Pond Gap Elementary students and an example of sustainable food choices for the greater community.

“Edible-curricula”-based school programming, community workshops and Service-Learning projects hosted at the garden will foster the skills needed to grow easily accessible and affordable produce for healthy lifestyles. The shared garden-care activities will connect schoolchildren and their families with local volunteers, and everyone will hone his or her gardening skills, make new friends, and even explore ways of making a viable career out of growing food.

Within the garden, Callo plans to grow a “you-pick” strawberry patch, as well as perennial fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Annual fruits and vegetables—among them, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers—also will be planted. Fruit trees likely will be part of the garden design, too, and they could include plums and native pawpaws. The majority of the food grown will be featured in the school cafeteria.

For more information about the community garden at Pond Gap Elementary School, contact Matt Callo at macallo@pstcc.edu or 865.296.1792. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State recognizes veterans during Civic Engagement Week

Pellissippi State Community College is placing special emphasis on veteran fellowship and veteran strength with a planned Civic Engagement Week Sept. 10-17.

“Civic Engagement Week is about promoting a culture of altruism among our students. This year, the focus of Civic Engagement Week will be on veterans and their families,” said Cat Carr, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program.

“With nearly 100,000 troops home from Iraq and another 30,000 expected home from Afghanistan in the next year, it is crucial that communities understand the reintegration obstacles that veterans and military families face.”

On Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, the week opens with “The Things We Carry: What War Does,” featuring guest speaker L. Caesar Stair III, a Vietnam veteran. The presentation is free and open to the public. It takes place in the Goins Building College Center 12:30-1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.

On Wednesday, Sept. 11, Pellissippi State faculty, staff and students pause for a moment of silence beginning at 9:03 a.m., as they remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Following the activity, guest speaker Clyde Luttrell, also a Vietnam veteran, delivers a brief address in the Courtyard.

Residents of the Ben Atchley State Veterans’ Home are on campus 10-11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the Courtyard for a meet-and-greet. Therapy dogs from HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee) also will be on hand.

Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning students join others participating in Knoxville Stand Down for Homeless Veterans on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the National Guard Armory, 3300 Sutherland Ave. The special community service event, part of a nationwide support movement, provides area homeless veterans with clothing and other services.

Pellissippi State replays a recent “Dialogue” WUOT radio talk show broadcast that features Rachael Cragle, the college’s director of Advising, among others, in a segment dedicated to supporting veterans in East Tennessee. The replay is at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex, Monday, Sept. 16.

Civic Engagement Week on the Hardin Valley Campus wraps up Tuesday, Sept. 17, with a special Constitution Day observance featuring Ron Bridges. Bridges, an associate professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Pellissippi State, talks of veterans’ sacrifices as they uphold the U.S. Constitution. The presentation is 12:30-1:15 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The Blount County Campus observes the National Day of Service and Remembrance at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, by the campus’ flagpoles. The event recognizes veterans and their service and includes an introduction to Service-Learning.

The Division Street Campus kicks off the week on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 10-11 a.m. in the Student Lounge, by providing students with the opportunity to learn more about volunteerism and electoral participation.

The campus marks the National Day of Service and Remembrance at 8-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Student Lounge. Students can attend “Protecting Our Financial Future” at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Room 118. “Celebrate Our Veterans” is 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, and Constitution Day is observed all day Tuesday, Sept. 17. Both events are in the Student Lounge.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts its third annual Call to Service Volunteer Resource Fair 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. The event introduces students and faculty to 35 agencies with community service opportunities and volunteer programs. The campus also hosts SunTrust Bank for a Finances 101 workshop Tuesday, Sept. 10. Three sessions are available: 9:10 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 2 p.m. Topics include debt-free living, money management, retirement, investments and emergency preparedness, among others.

Students at the Strawberry Plains Campus have an opportunity to serve as part of a cleanup crew for the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery the week before Veterans Day (Nov. 11). They can sign up for the service project during Civic Engagement Week as well as throughout fall semester.

For more information about Civic Engagement Week events, contact Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program at (865) 694-6492 or visit service-learning@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Service-Learning partnerships: Pellissippi State to break ground for Pond Gap community garden

Pellissippi State Community College’s Service-Learning program is planting the seeds for the spread of college-sponsored community gardens on the grounds of Knox County Schools.

Pellissippi State’s first garden project, part of a larger effort in Knox County to help students and communities succeed, gets under way this fall at Pond Gap Elementary School. Pond Gap is located near the college’s Division Street Campus, off Sutherland Avenue.

“A community garden project like this is all about the natural neighborhood revitalization that can come by inviting schoolchildren, their families and community college students to work together on quality service projects,” said Annie Gray. Gray is coordinator of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program and an English professor.

Pond Gap Elementary is Knox County Schools’ pilot project for the Community Schools Initiative. The initiative is one component of a national movement designed to strengthen schools, families, neighborhoods and communities.

Community Schools participants integrate traditional academics with community engagement to help students learn, support students’ families and promote healthy living. One aspect of the effort is to make schools, including Pond Gap,­ into community hubs by opening them for extended hours for outside programs and events.

“The Pond Gap neighborhood is very diverse. Children of 35 different nationalities attend Pond Gap, and a large percentage of their families live at or below the poverty level,” said Gray.

“It’s a challenging area, but also an ideal one for piloting a project that unites neighborhood families, the elementary school, and the college; that cuts across cultural differences to encourage relationships and teach new skills; and that inspires higher education.”

The Pond Gap pilot is overseen by the University of Tennessee. Gray is working closely with Bob Kronick, UT’s director of the University-Assisted Community School program, and Mark Benson, UACS program coordinator, on the community garden effort.

The Service-Learning project, titled “You Are What You Eat: The Edible Schoolyard Project,” is taking advantage of an AmeriCorps VISTA grant to jump-start the venture, plan and build the garden, and staff it with a full-time AmeriCorps volunteer for its inaugural year. Initial plans are to use existing space to complete a small garden by fall, with a larger, more comprehensive spring garden planned. The project’s AmeriCorps volunteer is Matt Callo.

“Pellissippi State students will be part of the volunteer process,” said Gray. “They’ll work in the garden or with Pond Gap schoolchildren, and might take part in workshops offered to the community on topics like balcony gardening or gardening on a budget.

“There are all sorts of curricular tie-ins for Pond Gap students, who can, at minimum, receive valuable math and science lessons from participating in the life of the garden.”

According to Gray, Pellissippi State plans to use the Pond Gap experience as a model for starting gardens at other community schools and eventually to offer an urban gardening certification program to college students. The initial year of the Pellissippi State project at Pond Gap will be used not only to build the garden but also to establish processes, locate sustainable revenue sources and network with other community garden efforts. Once those processes are in place, Pellissippi State will approach another community school for a similar partnership.

Now in its third year, Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program allows students and faculty to integrate meaningful community service and reflection with more traditional learning experiences, teaching civic responsibility and strengthening communities. The garden project also supports the community service placement of 1,000 tnAchieves scholars at Pellissippi State, all of whom must complete eight hours of volunteering in the community each semester.

For more information about the community garden at Pond Gap Elementary School, call Pellissippi State at (865) 694-6400 or email service-learning@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State’s knoxAchieves students meet scholarship requirements by volunteering with Mobile Meals

Getting fruit into the hands of some of the people who need it most—shut-ins served by Mobile Meals—made the holidays more meaningful for some Pellissippi State Community College students.

The first-ever “Fruitful Endeavor” took place at Thanksgiving at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, and Moira Connelly, an English faculty member and the site’s Service-Learning coordinator, says the campus plans to make it an annual event. The Service-Learning program broadens students’ education by pairing community service with classroom learning.

Students, faculty, and staff supported Mobile Meals by donating large bags of fruit, and about 30 students volunteered during a three-hour block, sorting the fruit into 150 individual bags and making Thanksgiving cards, Connelly says.

The goal for Pellissippi State was threefold: to provide the fruit, to emphasize volunteer work and to give students in the knoxAchieves program an opportunity to fulfill their community service requirement. The program, which is part of tnAchieves (www.tnachieves.org), offers public high school graduates up to $3,000 per year for community college tuition in exchange for eight hours of volunteering.

“You really did make a difference this year,” Jennifer Oakes, volunteer coordinator for Mobile Meals, told the college. “In the past, a large donation of fruit was made by a church, but this year they were not able to contribute, thus any amount of fruit we received was important. We would have been very short without your contribution.”

Mobile Meals is a program of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action
 Committee’s Office on Aging.

To learn more about Pellissippi State, go to www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. For more information about community service at the college, contact Annie Gray, Pellissippi State faculty member and coordinator of the Service-Learning program, at ajgray@pstcc.edu or (865) 694-6492.