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Linfield receives $45,000 sustainability grant

Linfield College has been awarded a Learn and Serve America grant through Washington & Oregon Campus Compacts’ Northwest Sustainability Initiative. The grant will provide $15,000 per year over the course of three years, for a total of $45,000.

Grant funding will support three areas—faculty development, specifically, a Service Learning Faculty Fellows program in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines; student-led service learning to strengthen the college’s commitment to sustainability; and Linfield’s Climate Action Plan, working toward carbon neutrality on its two campuses.

One of the goals of the Northwest Sustainability Initiative is to increase college student engagement in service learning within the STEM disciplines. Other goals include institutionalizing service-learning in the STEM disciplines, and developing local sustainability action teams to improve campus and community sustainability. With this grant, Linfield will bolster its service learning initiatives in the STEM disciplines while assisting faculty and students to find new and creative ways to address environmental issues.

Nationally, grants were awarded to 11 higher education institutions and consortia. This demonstrates the growing belief that higher education plays a key role in achieving community impact and service plays a key role in education, according to Jessica Wade, community service coordinator.

“The ultimate goal is for colleges and universities throughout the Northwest to work collaboratively with their campus and community partners to lead the way in innovative sustainability practices,” she said.

Service learning takes students out of the classroom and into the community to provide students with “real-life” experiences that in turn support and contribute to academic learning and address critical community needs. It gives students an opportunity to become active citizens, to be part of the problem solving solutions that impact the community and the environment. Research shows service learning retains students, improves academic performance, broadens perspectives and enhances critical thinking skills, and improves interpersonal skills.

Learn and Serve America promotes civic engagement for more than a million students each year. As part of its goal of making service-learning a common practice, the program provides resources to teachers, faculty members, schools and community groups across the country.

For more information contact Wade at 503-883-2636, jwade@linfield.edu.