Campus, community collaboration wins state award

Last spring, Joshua Harvey, a UMSL junior biology student, helped clean up brush at a home in Pagedale owned by Beyond Housing. UMSL recently was recognized for its outstanding community campus collaboration with Beyond Housing and the significant positive impact it has on both.

For the last two years, students from the University of Missouri–St. Louis have been working in local food pantries, tutoring children in after-school programs and cleaning up homes going through foreclosure. Working with Beyond Housing, a nonprofit that provides support and services for low-income families, the Students of Service project focused on the needs of families living in the Normandy School District.

That sustained partnership has earned the 2011 Outstanding Community and Campus Collaboration Award from the Missouri Campus Compact. MOCC is an organization of 36 college and university presidents established to strengthen civic engagement and service learning partnerships between schools and the communities they serve. The award was presented to UMSL at a MOCC conference Sept. 24 “in recognition of a significant positive impact” to both the community and the campus. MOCC is one of 35 state compact organizations in a national network.

Kay Gasen, director of the Community Partnership Project at UMSL, said the Students of Service project was launched with a three-year, $420,000 Learn and Serve America Higher Education grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Gasen is the project director for the grant. More than 1,000 students work with community leaders, teachers and residents of the 24 municipalities that make up the Normandy School District.

“The collaboration with Beyond Housing and 24:1 has provided rich learning and service opportunities for UMSL students,” said Gasen. “We’ve also valued the opportunity to connect UMSL resources with key issues and priorities in our local communities.”

Chris Krehmeyer, president and chief executive officer of Beyond Housing, said that university and community partnerships have proven to be effective at addressing the complex issues that confront neighborhoods.

“The UMSL/Beyond Housing/24:1 partnership has the opportunity to stand out among many prior successful initiatives,” said Krehmeyer. “The willingness of the university to recognize the needs of the community and try to meet those needs from across the campus is truly unique and appreciated.”

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