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Extension-CCE Partnership Connects Students with the State

Monica Lotzgesell
Monica Lotzgesell. Click image for a high resolution version.

Pullman, Wash. – Finding what you need in Colville, Wash., just got a bit easier, thanks to students at Washington State University.

This past semester, Monica Lotzgesell and a few of her classmates in Christine Oakley’s Sociology 433 class at Washington State University pitched in to create a resource directory for the Colville area.

Their effort was part of a service learning project linking WSU students with rural communities through the WSU Extension-managed Horizons community leadership project.

“We talked with different people in the community to get a feeling for what they wanted,” said the Monroe senior.

A resource directory was high on their agenda and something the students could do. The net result is a blog that links users with community resources, such as the Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, and the Northeast Washington Rural Resources Center as well as to resources outside the community, including links to the admissions offices of various colleges and veterans affairs.

“One of our guys is in the military,” Lotzgesell said. “He provided some information about veteran’s affairs because one of the reasons a lot of people don’t go to school is because they don’t have the money for it. We felt if we could provide them with the resources where they could find money, such as a military scholarship or something like that, then they would be more apt to go to college.”

Extension and WSU’s Center for Civic Engagement have partnered to provide students with meaningful service learning experiences for six years, starting with a pilot project involving 60 students in Lisa Shipley’s introductory wildlife management course.

In that project, Extension educators in Whitman, Pierce and Stevens counties arranged on-site visits with private land owners for the students. The students learned about wildlife issues concerning landowners and later wrote extension bulletins that were published on the Natural Resource Extension web site.

The experience helped the students gain a better understanding of wildlife management issues and develop critical thinking skills.

Since that pilot project, hundreds more students have found meaningful service learning experiences with Extension. Last semester alone, Extension hosted some 27 service learning projects across the state.

“WSU Extension seeks to connect the university to communities throughout the state,” said John Winder, associate dean and associate director of WSU Extension. “Our partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement brings a whole new dimension to this process – engaging WSU students to extend the university to these communities.”

“Our partnership with Extension has helped us to see that students can engage with communities in a variety of ways, face-to-face and at a distance,” said Kim Freir, CCE assistant director.

Read more about Extension’s Partnership with the CCE in the current issue of Extension Today online at http://cahnrsnews.wsu.edu/extensiontoday/index.html.

Also in this issue:

  • Small business health marks Extension priority;
  • Kitsap County Extension and Kitsap Small Business Development Center unite forces to develop business;
  • Southwest Washington is still weathering December storms;
  • Team cuts down cutworms, wins IPM award (podcast available: http://cahnrsnews.wsu.edu/multimedia/podcasts.html);
  • Animal health statewide focus of vet med director;
  • 4-H’ers learn about elections.

Extension Today is published three-times a year by the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences and WSU Extension Marketing, News, and Educational Communications as a supplement to WSU Today, WSU‘s faculty-staff newspaper.

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