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Center for Engagement and Community Development

News Features

Several Initiatives Recognized for Outstanding Engagement

The Office of the Provost and the Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) at Kansas State University recently announced the winners of the 2012 Excellence in Engagement Awards. The winning partnerships include Earthworms Across Kansas (EAK) and K-State's Adult Education Program Engagement with the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth (CGSC). Three finalists were also recognized including the Get It-Do It! program, Advancing Child Nutrition Programs in Kansas, and International Grains Program (IGP). All of these initiatives demonstrate an active engagement at the local and national level.

The Get It-Do It! program is lead by Elaine Johannes, K-State associate professor and extension specialist in Family Studies and Human Services. Get It-Do It! is an innovative grant program that helps promote more healthy activities in Kansas communities. This year the program awarded $3,000 to communities who are planning or implementing community-based health-promotion programs.

In addition to a few program staff, the initiative relies on community volunteers of all ages. Volunteers range from 4-H Clubs, FFA groups, sports teams to businesses.

"Through the Get It-Do It! program, our PRIDE group was able to bridge the gap between the young members of the community and the older generation and join forces to make Grainfield a healthier community," said Nicole Godek, chairman for Grainfield PRIDE.

Advancing Child Nutrition Programs in Kansas is lead by Kevin Sauer, K-State assistant professor in Hospitality Management and Dietetics, and was also a finalist for the K-State Excellence in Engagement Award. The program started in 2005 and has since evolved to have a common vision to improve child nutrition programs across the state of Kansas. The program engages in collaborative teaching and training, engagement between students and the industry, teamwork, and research. Thus far, the initiative has impacted more than 350,000 kids that now participate in National School Lunch Program daily.

The two partners working on Advancing Child Nutrition Programs include the Department of Hospitality Management and Dietetics, and the Kansas Department of Education's Child Nutrition and Wellness.

"This relationship fully engages the unique skills and strengths of both entities and has resulted in meaningful outcomes in Child Nutrition Programs, K-State Classrooms, with child nutrition research, and community outreach throughout Kansas," said Cheryl Johnson, director of Child Nutrition and Wellness.

In addition, the International Grains Program (IGP), lead by Dirk Maier, director of IGP, was highlighted for its engaged work. This program is designed to educate foreign business leaders and government officials about U.S. grains and oilseeds. IGP does this through technical training and assistance programs in grain storage and handling, milling, marketing, and processing. Training courses are normally two weeks and consist of learning through case studies, lectures, and laboratory demonstrations.

"IGP has provided exemplary leadership over the past 33 years to a wide range of constituents, ranging from APLU universities, to state and national bodies, to international participants from approximately 100 countries," said Gary Pierzynski, interim dean, College of Agriculture.

IGP is considered the first professional institute in the U.S. to provide technical training and marketing support for grains and soybeans.

The Office of the Provost and CECD would like to congratulate all three partnerships for exemplifying outstanding engagement in the communities they serve.

"We are very pleased to be able to recognize two outstanding examples of engaged work for the inaugural K-State Excellence in Engagement Awards," said David Procter, director of CECD, "Both award winners demonstrate how engagement can be effectively integrated into university research and teaching missions."