Our opinion
O’Bannon Institute event ‘walks the walk’ on engagement

The Herald-Times
April 11, 2013

The O’Bannon Institute, an annual Ivy Tech Community College event named after former Indiana Gov. Frank O’Bannon, stresses getting involved in the life of your community. That can be done through volunteering for a good cause, serving on a public board or commission, running for public office or just being informed on important local issues.

As the institute celebrates its 10th year, it’s time to call it what it is: a smashing success.

A lot of different parts make it so. Big-name keynote speakers have been attracted for the Thursday night dinner, and that includes former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, tonight’s guest.

The panels on Friday have focused on important local, state, national and international issues, featuring experts from the national political stage as well as those with knowledge on local, regional and state issues. And the session-ending “conversation” involves insightful guests, from the late Sen. George McGovern to political columnist Eugene Robinson to NPR correspondent Cokie Roberts.

All of those scheduled events complement something of at least equal value to the community — the strong commitment to civic engagement imbued in Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff.

As Ivy Tech Bloomington campus Chancellor John Whikehart noted this week, through volunteerism and service learning, Ivy Tech-Bloomington has contributed the equivalent of $1,185,995 in the communities it serves. That calculation comes from 33,000 volunteer hours through service learning classes and another 21,000 individual volunteer hours reported by Ivy Tech students, faculty and staff.

Today, more than 100 volunteers from Ivy Tech will participate in a Day of Service around the community.

All this adds up to one of the very best things about the O’Bannon Institute: It symbolizes walking the walk. The speakers and panels are inspiring, to be sure. But pairing them with real, measurable engagement activities makes this event even more special.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2013


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.