Pine River Collaboration Selected as Award Finalist
Alma College’s partnership with the Pine River Superfund Citizen
Task Force has been selected as a finalist for Michigan’s 2007 Carter
The partnership is one of four campus-community partnerships identified by the Carter Award Selection Committee. Recognition and $10,000 will be awarded to one of the four finalists June 20 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit during the annual Governor’s Service Awards Dinner.
Organized by Michigan Campus Compact (MCC), the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration recognizes colleges and community groups that work together in exceptional ways to improve peoples’ lives and help college students learn the value of community service.
The Pine River was declared a Superfund site in the 1970s due to accidental PBB and DDT contamination. In 1998, the Environmental Protection Agency determined the river was not undergoing the expected “natural attenuation” of the chemical DDT. After learning of the EPA’s recognition of emergency removal and remedial action of DDT contamination, Alma College and the community collaborated to form the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force, an EPA-sanctioned Community Advisory Group (CAG).
The Task Force is recognized as one of the most influential and active CAGs nationally and as having the largest membership of any CAG in the United States.
“The success of the college-CAG partnership can in many ways be attributed to the program’s extensive opportunities for involvement, seeking and incorporating diverse interests and skills to enable a multi-faceted, meaningful and creative collaboration with its members,” says Anne Ritz, service learning coordinator at Alma College.
“Students can become part of this partnership through research, course work and independent study in a variety of subjects and academic fields,” she says. “The Alma College technology group, for example, created the Pine River Website, which archives information about the river’s past and current pollution and progress. Even first-year students new to the community actively involve themselves and seniors in the collaboration, participating in a cross-listed service-learning/English/environmental science class that implemented the Historical St. Louis project. “
The college-community team hosts forums and speakers, provides outreach programs and public meetings, and sponsors the annual fishing derby in St. Louis, among other events and activities, said Ritz. The CAG also has enabled community members and college students to interact with government officials and environmental agencies. Students and faculty also experience the benefits of hands-on learning and how their involvement positively impacts and influences the people, organizations, and environment around them.
The MCC promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. MCC was chose by the Award founders to the3ost the award in Michigan. The purpose of the award mirrors the purpose of the Michigan Campus Compact.
Posted: Wed, May 23rd, 2007 at 7:35AM