Indiana University

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summer Institute on Service-Learning to unite IU and community around sustainability

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April 15, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The seventh annual Summer Institute on Service-Learning, set to take place May 12-14 at Indiana University Bloomington, will focus on the theme of sustainability this year. As a joint initiative between the IU Office of Service-Learning and the IU Office of Sustainability, the institute seeks to encourage community partnerships and service participation that advance sustainability in the Bloomington and IU communities.

The three-day institute will provide IU faculty and community organizations with a structured opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, network and discuss potentials for future partnerships. Through service-learning courses, such partnerships help sustain the link between campus and community.

"Service-learning merges practice with theory, which makes it an especially powerful pedagogy for courses with sustainability at the core," said Nicole Schonemann, director of the Office of Service-Learning. "Faculty interested in sustainability, service-learning and the connection between the two, as well as representatives from community agencies with similar interests, are all welcome to attend. The institute will provide an excellent opportunity for learning, networking and collaboration."

Day 1 will feature breakout sessions focused on how to bring sustainability and service-learning together. Heather Reynolds, Department of Biology faculty member, and Jeremiah Donovan, Department of Communication and Culture graduate student, are among those who will share their experiences teaching service-learning courses with institute participants. Schonemann will also lead a workshop on designing a sustainability and service-learning course.

Institute participants have the unique opportunity to take part in a community service at a site of their choice during Day 2. Participating organizations include Sycamore Land Trust, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation, Habitat Restore and Bloomington Housing Authority.

A range of breakout sessions, chaired by community representatives and experienced faculty, will follow at the end of Day 2 and on Day 3 to help institute participants reflect on service-learning and sustainability. Breakout session topics include helping students reflect on service experiences, assessing the service experience from an instructor's perspective, the community's role in meaningful service and student learning, and research in service-learning and sustainability.

Bill Brown, director of the IU Office of Sustainability, will deliver the keynote address on May 12 during the first morning of the institute.

"Sustainability is an ability best acquired through active practice and it transcends artificial boundaries, such as the edge of campus," said Brown. "Service-learning is the perfect vehicle for faculty and students seeking to effectively engage in these larger issues of campus and community sustainability through implementation and reflection with others."

The institute speaks to the broader goals of the Academic Initiatives working group of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board and its strategic plan to move Indiana University toward a leadership position in the academic arena of sustainability.

To register, contact the Office of Service-Learning at or 812-856-6011 by Friday, April 16. Registration is free.

For more information about the Summer Institute program schedule and presenters, visit: Information about the Indiana University Office of Service-Learning can be found at, and about the Office of Sustainability at

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