Happy Awards Honors Extraordinary Contributions to Service-Learning at LSU

December 4, 2015 

Annually, the Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership (CCELL) at LSU celebrates the accomplishments of those who have gone above and beyond in the field of service-learning by bestowing upon them a Happy Award. The Happy Award was created to honor former CCELL director Jan Shoemaker, who helped to present the awards at a ceremony on November 10, 2015. Honorees are described below.

  • Service-learning veteran Dr. James Honeycutt, Professor in the Manship School of Mass Communication, partners with Sunrise Assisted Living to teach family communication to help students understand the resiliency of the family units that evolve in this environment and the ways in which they navigate through stages of cognitive impairment.
  • Member of the Baton Rouge Garden Alliance Aldreamer Smith partners with sociology and women’s and gender studies professor Dr. Sarah Becker to teach LSU students about the significance of gardens and community while working alongside them in gardens in Old South Baton Rouge.
  • LSU kinesiology student Victoria Cantelli used her experience in her service-learning class, Exercise Testing and Prescription, to identify a need for new exercise equipment at the Leo S. Butler Community Center and raised over $1200 to purchase it.
  • Dr. Kenneth Fasching-Varner, Director of the LSU Teaching in Chile Study Abroad Program and associate professor of the School of Education, teaches a three week course in K-12 schools in Chile in which LSU and K-12 students work together to address coastal erosion and to create a sustainable ecosystem.
  • Each semester, Manship School of Mass Communication assistant professor, Dr. Jensen Moore and the students in her public relation campaigns course have worked with more than 25 non-profit organizations to create awareness and fundraising campaigns using a minimum of 10 deliverables and tactics that are customized to each organization.
  • Longtime community partner, Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS), trains several hundred LSU service-learning students each year as tutors and matches them with elementary students in need of assistance with reading or math. VIPS executive director, Judy K. Bethly and Everybody Reads coordinator, Tony J. Pryer work tirelessly to create and maintain these partnerships and to build community support for public education.
  • Chauncey Stephens, an elementary education major, has embraced an ethic of service throughout her time at LSU. From taking service-learning classes to serving as the director of Volunteer LSU, Chauncey’s service contributions have spanned from the local community through the United Way, Garfield House, and VIPS to the global community through LSU’s CHANGE Break experiences.
  • Chemical engineering and classical civilization double major Kurt Ristroph created VOLUMEN: Volunteering Our Library’s Universal Materials for Educational Needs, which allows elementary and middle school students to check out resources at the public library online through their school with an electronic VOLUMEN card; as of May 2015, the VOLUMEN cards have been used over 1000 times.
  • CCELL undergraduate student workers, Katelyn McCoy, a psychology major, and Eric Brown, a biological engineering major, have worked for a combined seven years in the CCELL office. Both have been invaluable to CCELL and have helped to expand and improve CCELL’s capacity for connecting to students and for creating new service-learning opportunities.
  • Barry Aronhime, instructor of biological sciences, is the most active service-learning faculty member at LSU, teaching sixteen classes each year as part of a partnership with the Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) in which he and his students fight invasive species in the parks and help maintain biodiversity in Baton Rouge.

Collectively, these community partners, students, and faculty represent the highest ideals of reciprocal service-learning partnerships.

CCELL promotes community engagement by serving as a clearinghouse for service-learning pedagogy and community partnerships; promotes scholarship by informing and helping to coordinate planning, research, pedagogy and assessment associated with service-learning and civic engagement; and enhances student learning and leadership skills by facilitating service-learning and related student initiatives. For more information on CCELL, visit www.lsu.edu/ccell.

Kristin Menson, Coordinator
Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership
(Phone) 225-578-4245
(Fax) 225-578-2696