NDNU Receives $10,000 California Campus Compact Student Leadership Initiative Grant
December 14, 2010 (Belmont, CA) — California Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service recently awarded Notre Dame de Namur University a $10,000 grant to participate in phase three of its Social Innovation Generation: Student Leadership Initiative. NDNU is one of five colleges and universities in the state to receive this grant for phase three.
The Social Innovation Generation: Student Leadership Initiative aims to assist those hardest-hit by the recent economic crisis through student-led service and service-learning projects, with a focus on creating a more sustainable future for California. NDNU has created an 18-month collaboration with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and Nesbit Elementary School geared toward fulfilling one of the Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur: that of community-based learning and social justice.
In a December 1 press release, California Campus Compact stated: “Public schools throughout California continue to face significant budget cuts. For schools in Northern California’s San Mateo County, these cuts have resulted in teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, reduced art, music and drama programming, and closings of school libraries. Students at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, will learn and practice the social change model of leadership as they “adopt” a local public elementary school and work with the principal, teachers, students and parents in addressing the school’s currently unmet needs. Students will organize a dialogue to discuss the effects budget cuts are having on K-12 education and plan a community based learning project. Professor Gretchen Wehrle, chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology, and Richard Watters, director of Student Life and Leadership, along with two student leaders, will oversee the grant.
“The grant will provide new and innovative experiences for NDNU students to learn how to be a social change agent and work with their communities to identify their needs. It will allow students the opportunity to work outside the classroom and design various community engagement activities, one being the Open Book Project” said Wehrle.The Open Book Project will focus on family literacy and fundraising to purchase books for individual students, the classrooms, and the school library.
“The reason for this program is to bring social awareness to the fact that many elementary school students of lower incomes families do not have books to take home and read over the summer,” says senior Jesus Garcia, who was a key player in the Open Book Project last year. “The opportunity to advocate the importance of reading and the joy that it brings elementary school students is what I hope others will experience.”
Funding from the grant will help support stipends for student leaders, facilitation and leadership training by Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, and registration and travel costs for students interested in attending a service learning conference in spring 2011.
Notre Dame de Namur University is an independent Catholic, coeducational institution serving nearly 1800 student. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, Belgium in 1851 and chartered by the state in 1868, NDNU maintains a strong commitment to social justice and community engagement. The University is fully accredited and offers 21 liberal arts and career preparation undergraduate programs, and 12graduate degrees and 7 credentials. The 50 acre campus is located in Belmont, just south of San Francisco.
The Social Innovation Generation: Student Leadership aims to assist those hardest-hit by the recent economic crisis through student-led service and service-learning projects, with a focus on creating a more sustainable future for California. NDNU has created an 18-month collaboration with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and Nesbit Elementary School geared toward fulfilling one of the Hallmarks of the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur: that of community-based learning and social justice.
Students of NDNU's Community Psychology class participates in a class activity.