Award ceremony part of Ivy Tech’s O’Bannon Institute

By Dann Denny 331-4350 |
April 26, 2012

When students in Robert Soto’s Ivy Tech cultural diversity class conducted a “life history project,” which involved interviewing Bell Trace residents about their lives and preserving the interviews on film for their families, they came across a woman in her upper 80s who said she could never cook worth a darn.

“She said she covered up her poor cooking by using fancy china and serving lots of wine,” Soto said.

The woman, a psychiatric nurse, also said she once witnessed a psychiatric doctor inadvertently lick some LSD off his finger.

“He really started tripping,” she said.

Soto was one of several people honored during Ivy Tech’s Civic Engagement Awards ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building, an event that kicked off Ivy Tech’s three-day O’Bannon Institute for Community Service event by honoring faculty, staff and student volunteers, as well as community partners.

“I would like to congratulate and thank this year’s civic engagement award winners, and all Ivy Tech volunteers, for making volunteer contributions to our community possible,” said John Whikehart, Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus chancellor.

Whikehart said Ivy Tech’s commitment to service learning and civic engagement is evidenced by its collective contributions to the community, pointing out that in the past year Ivy Tech’s service learning and community service hours totaled nearly 46,000 hours for a contribution of about $894,000 to area communities.

He said this spring, Ivy Tech accounting class volunteers served more than 700 clients by preparing taxes through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, and generated a college record of $1.2 million in federal refunds for those clients.

Soto, one of three recipients of the Faculty Excellence in Service Learning award, said he launched the “life history project” to show students the older generation has plenty to teach them.

“I think doing the project helped most of them realize that’s true,” he said. “One girl said she felt spoiled that she didn’t have to fetch her own water.”

Daniel Stec was given the Excellence in Student Volunteerism award for several volunteer activities, such as his participation in Ivy Tech’s Alternative Spring Break 2011, during which he and 11 other Ivy Tech students spent spring break week in an impoverished Mexican village, helping to put concrete floors in homes.

“We also took shoes collected here and distributed them to kids,” he said. “We actually got to fit the kids with the shoes. It was really a great experience.”

Stec also made two mission trips to Haiti with his home church, New Community Church in Martinsville; and volunteered as first the local coordinator and then the regional adviser for the International Student Exchange, a nonprofit organization that finds host families for international students who have come to study in the United States.

Here are the other award winners:

The Community Partner award, honoring an organization the college works with throughout the year, went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington, which hosted community work studies, Ivy Tech AmeriCorps students and interns. Recently, the organization partnered with Ivy Tech’s poetry class on a service learning project called Art into Poetry.

The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Community Partner award went to the Bloomington Playwrights Project. In addition to the Ivy Tech/Bloomington Playwrights educational partnership over the past year, BPP has played a significant role in strengthening the arts, economy and community.

The Gayle and Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship award went to the Cook CEO Roundtable. Recently, the group formed an alliance with the center, and individual members made an investment to replace a valued tree in Bryan Park that belonged to a resident after vandals had cut it down.

Recipients of the other two faculty Excellence in Service Learning award were Roy Elkes and Steve Englert, for their leadership efforts in the VITA program (a learning staple for Ivy Tech accounting students since 2004).

The Excellence in Faculty/Staff Volunteerism award went to Steve Hanson for his work with the Homeward Bound Walk to benefit the poor and homeless. Additionally, Hanson has served for the past three years as director of the Monroe Tournament Division of USA Bassin Next Generation, a youth fishing tournament. In 2011, winners were offered $21,000 in college scholarships.

The Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian award went to Jerrilyn Zeigler for her positive attitude and commitment to Ivy Tech through her student life involvement. She is a student ambassador, Student Government Association member and volunteer. Zeigler attended Alternative Spring Break 2011 and will be attending Western Kentucky University when she leaves Ivy Tech.

O’Bannon Institute events

Ivy Tech Community College’s 2012 O’Bannon Institute for Community Service in Bloomington began Wednesday and runs through Friday.

Thursday, 150 Ivy Tech volunteers will participate in a Day of Service, working with agencies in Bloomington and area communities. Volunteer locations include Red Cross Blood Drive, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Early Head Start, Head Start, IU Health and Safety Fair at the Morgan County Fairgrounds, Bloomington Animal Shelter, City of Bloomington—Wapahani Bike Trail and Pages to Prisoners.

Thursday night, more than 400 people at the convention center will hear Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will (ticket sales are closed).

Friday, panel discussions are planned at Ivy Tech.

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.