Each one of us here tonight represents hundreds of other students who are doing this kind of thing, said Jennifer Bastress, a senior in the School of Nursing and one of four recipients of the Faculty Award for Distinguished Student Community Service Learning.
Of the 20 students nominated, Bastress; Joel F. Martinez, LS&A senior; Deanna L. Naugles, LS&A junior; and Catharine E. Quinn, School of Nursing senior, were honored at an April 8 dinner.
All the nominations reflected an extraordinary commitment to either the University or external community, said Jeffrey Howard of the Community Service Learning Office. These four students represent the best in the Universitys quest to prepare the citizen-leaders of tomorrow.
Bastress, who now serves on several state and national community service boards and committees, began her involvement in community service before she came to the U-M, working in Mexico on health and sanitation issues. At the
U-M, she has worked with Project SERVE for four years, the last as co-chair of the SERVE Board.
Martinez was chosen for his involvement in Sigma Lambda Beta, a fraternity that encourages Latinos to become role models and participate in workshops, benefits and conferences aimed at helping the young Hispanic population.
Martinez said that at the University, you have to make your own opportunities for service. Since there was no organization specifically for the Latino and Latina population, he and six others founded the fraternity, which has raised money for organizations in Bay City and Detroit.
Naugles worked with children visiting their mothers in jail. The child visitation program attempts to maintain the relationship between mother and child through regular visiting periods. Naugles was there to smooth the way for children who needed to talk, be held and comforted, or simply have someone nearby.
I grew up in a lot of foster homes, Naugles said, so I know what its like not to have a parent there.
Quinn also worked in correctional facilities, but her nursing education helped steer her to health issues, particularly AIDS education, which she taught in homeless shelters and correctional institutions. About the learning part of community service Quinn said, I learn a lot from the places I go. I dont always go in with a lot of knowledge. She noted that she had found it necessary to do research in order to prepare herself for the experience.
Students are chosen by a faculty committee that selects them according to meaningful service outcomes, innovation in approach, demonstration of leadership and dedication, and the ability to articulate the educational value of the service.
Elizabeth M. Douvan and Barry N. Checkoway addressed the students following the awards presentation.
I think we find that the educational benefit for students who participate in community service learning is equal to or greater than what they give, said Checkoway, who is professor of social work and of urban, technological and environmental planning. He cited a study by political science Prof. Gregory B. Markus, which shows that students who participate in community service learning earn better grades and can apply what they learn in the community to classroom learning.
Douvan noted that giving is one of the ways we recognize our humanity, our social nature.
Community service means recognizing the needs we can meet better if we join forces, she said.
Douvan is the Catharine Neafie Kellogg Professor of Psychology and professor of womens studies.