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EFSC Wins Major Awards for Community Service

September 22, 2016 - Eastern Florida State College has won two major awards for community service on the Space Coast for a program that provides students hands-on experience helping others.

The awards were given by Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,100 colleges and universities that is committed to developing students’ citizenship skills.

Eastern Florida is a member through its Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement that provides college credit to students who voluntarily perform community work.

The award winners are:

• Community Engagement Educator Award: EFSC Professor Susan Phillips

Susan PhillipsPhillips teaches biology on the college’s Palm Bay campus and has been an Eastern Florida leader in service learning.

She was recognized for a range of work that includes infusing community involvement in her classes and starting innovative community-based programs for students.

Susan Phillips class at beachLast year, she sponsored the Student Veterans of America Palm Bay Collegiate Veterans Society Chapter and incorporated service-learning into projects through its membership.

Another contribution is her support for the Oyster Reef Restoration Project to aid in the recovery of the pollution-plagued Indian River Lagoon.

Phillips designed a class project in which her students work with the University of Central Florida, Nature Conservancy and Brevard Zoo to learn the critical ecological roles that oysters play and contribute oyster mats to help restore water quality.

• Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Award

The award recognized work on the college’s Cocoa campus for partnering with Endeavour Elementary School to create a Community School.

The Community School strategy targets low-income, under-performing schools and works to improve them using college resources to provide a variety of services.

Endeavor Elementary School Volunteers

Students, faculty and staff assisted with free dental care, classroom volunteers, reviving an abandoned teaching garden and starting a Resource Fair to meet with parents to discuss the opportunities the program offers.

They also brought together partner organizations such as the City of Cocoa, Brevard County Parks and Recreation, STEM TECH Neighborhood Academy, Computers for Advancing Education, Central Brevard Sharing Center, Central Brevard Humane Society, United Way and the Boys and Girls Club.

Earlier this year, Eastern Florida student Julia Weatherspoon was named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The award honors undergraduate and graduate students who pursue long-term social change and inspire others in their communities to do the same.

Eastern Florida’s Service-Learning program has long been recognized as among the best in the nation, having been named to the White House’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll nine consecutive years.

In all, more than 80,000 students have contributed about three million hours of community service since the program began in 1988, showing the college’s commitment to Brevard County.

For more information on the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, visit easternflorida.edu/go/volunteer