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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - January 2022

By Mary Jane Chew

Office of Engagement accepting project proposals for service-learning grant program

Each fall and spring semester, the Office of Engagement offers funding for student service-learning and engagement projects. The grant program expands Purdue students’ involvement in community service, including service-learning and experiential learning opportunities in partnership with communities, non-profit agencies, schools and governmental bodies.

Student grants for community service and service-learning projects are available to undergraduate and graduate students across all Purdue campuses. Amounts range up to $500 for an individual student and a maximum of $1500 for a student team or organization.

Since 2014, the Office of Engagement has awarded funds to over 1,200 individuals, student teams, and student organizations. Project topics are wide-ranging and have led to the development of several successful initiatives, including the education of local sixth-graders about the effects of drug use, the installation of an interactive hallway wall for physical therapy patients at Riley Children’s Hospital and the distribution of texture-friendly hair products to Black patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.

Over 400 community partnerships have been established since the beginning of the program—one being the West Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department. In the spring of 2020, students from ANTH 641: Discovery and Design,  collaborated with the parks department to better understand how the experiences of park visitors changed throughout the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team placed visually engaging, QR-enabled signage along various trails to conduct a survey of park visitors, who scanned the codes with their mobile devices to learn about community resources and share their own park experiences. The project elicited over 200 engagements with the signs and generated social media posts from park visitors. The City of West Lafayette is currently planning future service-learning projects with Purdue anthropology students. 

The students report that the project provided an important opportunity to develop engaged research skills with a municipal partner while making meaningful change for the surrounding community.

Service-learning grant applications will be accepted until February 16. Applications submitted after deadline will be approved on a rolling basis if funds are available. Students will be notified of the committee’s decision on or before March 4.

The Purdue service-learning grant program is one of the more prolific programs in the country. For questions, please contact Lisa Duncan, llduncan@purdue.edu or read more about the grant application process.