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Service-Learning Initiative joins national civic engagement coalition

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
August 30, 2007


The Service-Learning Initiative (SLI) at Texas State University-San Marcos has joined the Texas Campus Compact (TXCC), a move that will increase the visibility of ongoing service-learning and civic engagement activities at the university.

As part of Texas State’s affiliation with TXCC, Mykle Tomlinson of Austin will join the SLI as dedicated support staff through Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA).

“Joining the Texas Campus Compact will better enable us to work with other colleges that have an interest in service-learning and civic engagement,” said SLI Director and professor Oren Renick. “The VISTA volunteer is assigned to us for one year. I’ll have him staff the SLI leadership team and help us with surveys to better identify what’s going on here on campus. He’ll be involved with operational projects as well.”

The SLI is an outgrowth of the Service-Learning Project at Texas State, which has been active for more than a decade on campus. The SLI will serve as a clearinghouse to track service learning and civic engagement programs, Renick said, and enable the university to build upon existing projects.

“The idea is to increase collaboration among all the diverse groups campus wide,” Renick said. “Service-learning ties the campus and community together for the betterment of both. Data suggests civic involvement actually helps improve student retention.

“Here we have a unique opportunity to carry out, coordinate and document service learning at a large public university,” he said. “If we can pull together what we’re doing, that would be very unusual for an institute of this size. Other schools that have done this are typically small, private colleges.”

The signature programs of SLI’s civic engagement at Texas State include:

             • Mutual Adoption Pact, a service-mentoring program which pairs senior citizens

 with students to build meaningful relationships

Safe At Home, a volunteer program aimed at reducing the risk of death or injury

 among seniors resulting from falls in the home

Strong for Life, a fitness program in which students visit the homes of seniors

 or community organizations and engage them in exercise activities

Founded in 2000, Texas Campus Compact (TXCC) is part of a national coalition of more than 1,000 college and university presidents committed to the civic purposes of higher education. TXCC promotes community service that develops students’ citizenship skills and values, encourages partnerships between campuses and communities, and assists faculty who seek to integrate public and community engagement into their teaching and research.

For more information, contact Renick at cr13@txstate.edu or (512) 245-2460.