Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just a pebble

eisenhauerbookswebsize_fromMary Jane Eisenhauer, Ed.D.
Purdue University North Central

Just a pebble. That’s all it takes to make a ripple in the pond. Working with early childhood education students at Purdue University North Central, I use this metaphor often to remind students of the power they have to change the world. A smile or a kind word can turn around the day for a young child. A new set of books or art materials can update a classroom. An interactive outdoor park for families can transform a neighborhood. The ripples from these pebbles move outward and enhance our studies, enrich our lives, and impact our communities.

Indiana Campus Compact recognizes the importance of engaging students, faculty, staff, and campuses to serve their communities. Throughout the year, Indiana Campus Compact provides frequent opportunities for conversation, education and collaboration through their website, publications, and conferences; and provides generous funding to students, faculty and staff for service-learning projects and research.

I have been fortunate to receive such support from Indiana Campus Compact so that I can help my students realize those opportunities to contribute by engaging with community partners to meet the needs of young children and families.  Some of the funding from a Scholarship of Engagement Grant allowed students to purchase classroom materials for local child care centers. The Student Community Service Mini-Grant made possible the Purdue University North Central Nancy Dworkin Born Learning Trail. And a Sponsored Research Grant is propelling me forward to consider the impact of early childhood service-learning in our community. In addition to the valuable financial support, Indiana Campus Compact has been an indispensable resource for my professional development.  I have participated in the Service Engagement Summit as well as a CSD Institute. My time as a Faculty Fellow was priceless. I like to imagine that each of these experiences is a pebble – watch the ripples changing the pond!

Almost fifty years ago, in January 1961, John F. Kennedy quoted Luke when he said, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” I choose to contribute to Indiana Campus Compact because I believe it is my responsibility to give back to an organization that has given so much to me, to my students, to my campus and to my community. The mission and work of Indiana Campus Compact empowers students to make a connection between the classroom and real life. This gives me great hope for our future as I see students taking on issues of social justice and addressing true community needs.

I choose to contribute time and resources to Indiana Campus Compact because I believe that my small pebble does make a difference.

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Indiana Campus Compact is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for significant funding in support of programs, training,and resources for our member campuses that allow them to deepen their commitment to community engagement and service-learning.