2011 Otterbein University Ohio Campus Compact VISTA Report
Engaging campuses in service to the community. Ohio Campus Compact VISTA Impact Report: Otterbein University Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA strategically connects college resources with communities in need. Corps members gain valuable experience and educational awards. Campuses expand their civic outreach. And community partners receive critical support.HISTORY & BACKGROUND Poverty Alleviation Focus Area: Food SecurityThe Center for Community Engagement and Center forEquine Studies created the garden in 2010 to provide students For more information contact:with a living space on campus for experiential learning and to VISTA Corps member: Erica Phillipsmeet a burgeoning need in the community related to food (614) 823-1583 • email@example.com. The university dedicates itself to educating its Site Supervisor: Melissa Gilbertstudents about poverty and providing volunteer opportunities (614) 823-1251 firstname.lastname@example.org allow students to take action to create community Ohio Campus Compact VISTA Sr. Program Director:partnerships and alliances that combat these social issues. Lesha Farias (740) 587-8571 • email@example.comFaculty also participate in a community of practice focusing on www.ohiocampuscompact.orgpoverty, encouraging them to create innovative programs toaddress social issues. About 1.6 million Ohioans received SNAP food support in fiscal year 2010. From 2008 to 2010, the number of non-public assistance SNAP recipients increased by 43.3%. The “suburbanization” of poverty has also affected areas such as Westerville, as more people move further out from city centers and face situational poverty. The poverty rate of families in the suburbs has increased by 37% in the US. In 2010, Westerville Area Resource Ministries (WARM), served over 4,400 households.Within Franklin County, 11 of 16 suburban school districts hadan increase of more than 10 percentage points in the numberof economically disadvantaged students over the past fiveschool years. In Westerville Schools, 26% of students wereconsidered disadvantaged in the 2009-2010 school year.Otterbein maintains significant partnerships with Westerville Otterbein VISTAs alleviate hunger in Westerville whileCity Schools, instilling the value of experiential education at the building strong alliances through the Otterbeingarden into all grade levels. Community Garden. With 22 groups donating at least “The garden provides our youth with the opportunity to 25% of their produce to WARM, the garden expects connect with their community and make a difference in to harvest over 1,000 pounds of produce this year. the world around them. It has been an exciting With so many participating groups, the garden is a adventure that has fostered a strong community and portal to community partner relationships. Through brought learning to life. Students are able to make real- the garden, the CCE seeks to grow a network of world connections while expanding upon what they’ve partnerships for Otterbein student involvement, which leads not only to volunteer opportunities, but also to learned within the four walls of a classroom. The garden internships, research projects, and alliances across the project has been an extraordinary learning experience for university. all involved and we’ve only just begun.”---Liz Stimer, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Genoa Middle School
CAMPUS IMPACTBy building a community of action with students, staff, faculty, and alumni, we The VISTA Impactare creating strong campus alliances at the community garden. Four student by the numbers:organizations are maintaining plots at the garden this year, involving fifteenstudents. Through the SEEDS (Students Engaged in Ecological Development &Stewardship) program, students assist at the garden for 300 hours and receive Otterbein Community Gardenan $1132 Education Award through the federal AmeriCorps program. We Garden Plots: 39currently have five students enrolled in this program. For eight weeks in thesummer, we also hire two Summer Associate VISTAs, students who work Groups Involved: 22full-time at the garden. These student leaders administer the garden in thesummer, handling not only the CCE plots, but also maintaining communal Grants and In-Kind Support: $9,500spaces, assisting the Westerville City Schools SOIL group, and facilitating Grants Submitted: 10garden events. This summer, they are also volunteering at the WARM USDASummer Lunch Program three days a week. WARM serves over 100 free Student Participants: >100lunches each day to children in Westerville and the SEEDS and VISTAvolunteers are crucial to the volunteer base of this program. Both of these Produce Donated 2010 250 lbs.AmeriCorps programs emerged because the alliances were in place to make Produce Donated 2011 ≥ 25%them possible for our students.Faculty and staff also participate at the garden. Faculty in the Sociology,Sustainability, Public Relations, and Art departments have created service-learning projects for their classes involving the garden. We have augmented The importance of the community gardenour partnership with the Education Department and Westerville City Schools surpasses just aiding the community, it allowsas well. In addition to building content area knowledge, we are also educating for students to gain experiences and skillsOtterbein and Westerville students about the importance of volunteerism necessary to develop into well roundedand service. individuals who have a genuine concern for the environment and people around them.COMMUNITY IMPACT – Lucy Pierce, ’13, SEEDS AmeriCorpsThis year we have 22 different groups maintaining plots at the Otterbein Member and Sustainability majorCommunity Garden, a significant increase from the previous year. Thegardening groups come from a wide breadth of organizations. With thirty-nine 20 ft. x 20 ft. garden plots, growth through further partnerships with About Ohio Campus Compactcommunity and university groups will continue. By requiring groups to AmeriCorps*VISTAmaintain plots instead of individuals, we hope to encourage more alliances andcommunity building within each plot itself, in addition to the community Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide nonprofitbuilding that occurs within the garden as a whole. Already, our students are coalition of colleges and university presidents andforming bonds with various garden groups. Last year, a single Westerville City their campuses working to promote the civicSchools group donated 250 pounds of produce to the local food pantry. With purposes of higher education. Ohio Campusan increased yield this year, we hope to harvest at least 1,000 pounds of Compact provides resources, services &produce for WARM by the end of the season. With its unique mission based partnerships to help Ohio campuses deepen theirin education, philanthropy, and community partnerships, the garden is ability to educate students for civic and socialexpanding Otterbein’s presence in the Central Ohio community. responsibility and to improve community life.KEEPING THE PARTNERSHIP STRONG: OPPORTUNITIES FOR AmeriCorps*VISTA is the national service programTHE FUTURE designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded asAs the garden moves forward, we must continue to strengthen our on- Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 andcampus and community partnerships to ensure the garden’s success and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network ofsustainability. For the garden to succeed, it must also be a priority for offices programs in 1993, VISTA has been on the frontbeyond the CCE and we must continue the process of institutionalization. lines in the fight against poverty in America forThe CCE alone lacks the capacity to continue this project. Only two plots more than 40 years.have been unclaimed this year, demonstrating the campus and communityinterest in the garden. As the garden continues, so continues the opportunity The Ohio Campus Compact AmeriCorps*for students to experientially explore the complexities of public policies that VISTA Program places and supports VISTAs whointensify and/or ameliorate issues of hunger in our community. With the create and expand programs designed to bringgarden, students and faculty have a living case study, an individuals and communities out of poverty. VISTAsoutdoor classroom to learn about these issues and act serve in the poorest areas of their communities toupon them. The connectedness and network of tackle poverty-related problems such as hunger andpartnerships and alliances must continue to expand to homelessness, financial literacy, veteran studentensure the sustainability of the garden. services, public health and college access. More information at: www.ohiocampuscompact.org The Otterbein Community Garden is made possible by generous support from Scott’s Miracle Gro Company, Franklin Park Conservatory, Franklin County, Youth Service America, AAC&U, Learn & Serve America, Chipotle, Oakland Nurseries, DeMonye’s Greenhouse, and Hoover Gardens.