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U of U Names 12 Service-Learning Scholars

April 22, 2005 — The University of Utah’s Bennion Community Service Center recently named 12 graduating students as 2005 Service-Learning Scholars. The recognition honors students who complete 400 hours of community service, 10 credit hours of service-learning classes and a major integrative service project (ISP) that combines academics with concentrated community work.

The 2005 Service-Learning Scholars are Mondi Basmenji, Daniel Canabe, Susan Canabe, Angelina Chan, Laura Gee, Jesse Hofer, Brandon Lee, Anne Looser, Jun Luo, Stacie MacArt, Tyler Nelson, Greg Owens.

“The Service-Learning Scholars program, now in its thirteenth year, continues to attract bright, dedicated University students who then become engaged in civic work and community service,” notes Shannon Gillespie, Bennion Center service-learning coordinator. “We are confident that these students will continue to affect positive change-to make the world a better place-long after they have left the University.”

Political science student Mondi Basmenji created a training video for volunteers who provide medical and social support for the homeless population at the Fourth Street Clinic. By viewing the video volunteers will receive more thorough and consistent information about serving in the care coordination area, while freeing the staff to focus on other responsibilities.

For two years, Daniel Canabe, a Psychology major, volunteered at The Children’s Center, an organization that helps children with emotional and behavioral problems. His ISP included teaching the young preschoolers relaxation techniques and yoga exercises. These activities were then followed by creative art projects to further enhance the children’s experiences.

Psychology major Susan Canabe also worked with The Children’s Center. In order to determine the success of the center, whose mission it is to help children become successful in a structured environment in preparation for kindergarten, she conducted research that showed the progress of preschool children at The Children’s Center compared to progress of children in other preschools in the Salt Lake valley.

Angelina Chan worked with community agencies as well as University students, faculty and staff to develop a sustainable health fair for Asian American elders. Chan, who will graduate with a degree in psychology and Asian Studies, designed the event to address health risks that specifically pertain to Asian Americans and to involve students who speak an Asian language as translators.

English and environmental studies major Laura Gee created a sixth grade energy curriculum for Utah House, Utah State University’s sustainable building project, located in Kaysville, Utah. She included a teacher guide, student worksheets and a pre-site activity. She also built a solar oven and a heat conduction experiment to teach students about the properties of heat.

A nurse in Oregon and a bioengineering major, Jesse Hofer was the first to help in implementing the program ‘No One Dies Alone’ in Salt Lake City-at LDS, Alta View and Cottonwood hospitals. The program provides companionship as terminal patients pass away. Jesse reviewed and revised the manual for volunteers.

Brandon Lee is a senior who is majoring in environmental studies, political science and international studies. He created a committee that aids students in networking and promotes greater activism on campus. The committee offers students greater opportunities for civic engagement through understanding student government, campus politics and national government.

For nearly three years, Anne Looser, a political science student, has worked with the Anti Hunger Action Committee (AHAC) as a volunteer, advocate and, most recently, as a board member. The advocacy group, housed in the Crossroads Urban Center, organizes food pantry clients and their friends to advocate on their own behalf. Recently AHAC attained non-profit status so needed guidelines a board of directors could follow. Looser created guidelines that will provide structure and longevity for the organization.

Jun Luo, a psychology major, has produced patient history cards (PHCs) for refugees living in the Hartland Apartments so that healthcare professionals can attain accurate health information from them. The cards will potentially reduce communication errors by providing answers to frequently-asked questions when these patients visit physicians or emergency rooms.

A nursing student, Stacie MacArt’s ISP project consisted of a medical trip to an HIV/AIDS center in Rayong, Thailand. Entitled ‘AIDing Thailand,’ she and seven other nursing students delivered medical supplies and monetary donations to the Camillian Social Center, comprised of an orphanage, a palliative care center and a sanctuary for individuals and their families who have been turned away for having HIV or AIDS.

Along with Volunteers Involved in Development Abroad (VIDA), Tyler Nelson, an exercise and sports science major, traveled to Ticantiqui, Kuna Yala, an independent island off of the Atlantic coast of Panama. He and his team shared much-needed medical supplies, offered medical assistance and taught health classes in the local school, which they also painted and repaired.

Biology student Greg Owens created sensory boxes for the residents of Garden Terrace, a nursing home that serves patients with dementia. The boxes contain various objects to stimulate the senses, which slows sensory loss, exercises the minds and memories and provides an effective means to interact with recreational therapists or volunteers.

Since its founding in 1987, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center has been providing service opportunities to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the University of Utah. The Bennion Center fosters lifelong service and civic participation by engaging the University with the greater community in action, change and learning.

More than 5,000 people donate more than 100,000 hours annually to a variety of projects. Some give an hour of their time while others give weeks or even months. Through Bennion Center projects, these volunteers gain insight into dealing with poverty, the environment, at-risk youth, the elderly and the disabled.