Service-Learning Engaged Scholar - Leah Murray
Dr. Leah Murray, associate professor of political science at Weber State University, has incorporated service-learning into her courses to teach students about the importance and process of political and civic engagement. In an upper division Campaigns and Elections course, Dr. Murray's students developed the Weber County League of Women Voters' Voter Guide. In the research methods class, Dr. Murray has partnered with Ogden City to conduct community-based evaluation research of the Fresh Air Friday program. North Ogden City has also benefitted from the community-based research efforts of Dr. Murray and her students as they assessed the city's economic development plan. Dr. Leah Murray also founded the Civitas program on Weber State's campus. This program allows students who are actively engaged in their communities, both politically and civically, to graduate with recognition for the lessons learned through these experiences. The American Democracy Project and Deliberative Democracy have also been championed by Dr. Murray engaging thousands of students each year in constitution week, the New York Times Project, Times and Issues Forums, and Deliberative Democracy Day.
Civically Engaged Student - Melinda Taggart
When Melinda Taggart was hired to work in the Center for Community Engageat Weber State University, it became for her a life-changing event. She uses the job to provide exceptional community service herself and to help fellow students find the resources they need to become deeply involved. She enlists students for projects by exciting them with her exuberance and inspiring them to expand their commitments beyond the academic or short-term experience. Alert to organizations’ needs on temporary bases as well as with semester-long service-learning commitments, Melinda has rallied students to accomplish such tasks as designing and painting a mural for the Salvation Army and leading children and elderly in creating art pieces for Bridging the Gap. Melinda will graduate with a BS of Social Work in 2013
Civically Engaged Staff Member - Betty Gilchrist
A community volunteer decades before being elected chair of the WSU Classified Staff Advisory Committee, Betty Gilchrist uses the position to encourage staff to become involved in community service. She advertises opportunities around campus and leads by example, even during vacation time. Drawing upon experience as a custodian supervisor and her willingness to learn and teach skills, she has helped install a sprinkling system for a Habitat for Humanity house; cooked, served, and washed dishes for the Marshall White Center’s community breakfast; transformed a greasy cafeteria into a meeting room for the YMCA; successfully lobbied the Utah Legislature for respite nursing help for family caretakers; and helped gather and distribute blankets to employees in need. Now she is working to develop a service leave policy that allows staff to perform annual service to be tracked by the CCEL.
Committed Community Partner - Jenny Frame Ogden Nature Center
Ogden Nature Center strengthens community engagement at Weber State University year round. Professors use ONC for scientific research; a student team designed, built, and installed an aquarium to teach about native fish species; communication classes designed and built benches at various destinations; a GIS class mapped ONC trails and properties; and biology students regularly help teach education programs for school children. Other students plant and nurture trees, repair education sites, and provide grounds cleanup or trail maintenance. A technical writing intern is helping with media public relations and an AmeriCorps intern is focusing on caring for resident animals. ONC participation in WSU volunteer fairs helps students understand the roles and
connections possible for them and how they can use their academic knowledge practically to benefit the community.