NDNU Receives $10,000 California Campus Compact Student Leadership Initiative Grant

Belmont, CA, December 15, 2010 — California Campus Compact and the Corporation for National and Community Service recently awarded Notre Dame de Namur University a $10,000 grant to help a local elementary school restore some of the programs and services impacted by the state budget cuts. NDNU students will work with Nesbit Elementary School in Belmont to identify areas in which the school needs additional support, and implement service projects to meet these needs. The grant allows the university to expand a relationship it already has with Nesbit under which NDNU students teach science in K-3 classrooms.

California Campus Compact stated: “Public schools throughout California continue to face significant budget cuts. For schools in Northern California’s San Mateo County, these cuts have resulted in teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, reduced art, music and drama programming, and closings of school libraries. Students at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California, will learn and practice the social change model of leadership as they “adopt” a local public elementary school and work with the principal, teachers, students and parents in addressing the school’s currently unmet needs. Students also will organize a community dialogue to discuss the effects budget cuts are having on K-12 education.”

The grant was awarded as part of phase three of California Campus Compact’s Social Innovation Generation: Student Leadership Initiative, which aims to assist those hardest-hit by the recent economic crisis through student-led service and service-learning projects, with a focus on creating a more sustainable future for California. NDNU is one of five colleges and universities in the state to receive this grant for phase three. Funding from the grant will help support stipends for student leaders, facilitation and leadership training by the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, and registration and travel costs for students interested in attending a service learning conference in spring 2011.

“The grant will provide new and innovative experiences for NDNU students to learn how to be social change agents and work with their communities to identify their needs. It will allow students the opportunity to work outside the classroom and design various community engagement activities, one being the Open Book Project” said Prof. Gretchen Wehrle, chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology.

The Open Book Project focuses on family literacy and fundraising to purchase books for individual students, the classrooms, and the school library.