CPCS administrative assistant Arlene Melchiorre, left, helps a student find
a service placement for her class.

Obstacles and Opportunities

As a division of the Office of Academic Affairs, CPCS now has a solid infrastructure, and service learning has become a legitimate part of the SU curriculum. Yet, broader financial support is needed to keep pace with the rapidly increasing requests for service and to explore new creative program ideas. Transportation to placement sites remains one of the most difficult budget items to fund, but one of the most critical because students rely on CPCS to get them where they need to go safely and on time. “Most of our students don’t have their own cars, and there’s no direct bus system in the city,” Heintz says. “We only have 2 vans to transport more than 300 students a week to 80 different placement sites, and scheduling and routing are supervised by students. We need more vans and a switchboard operation with a professional staff person at the helm.”
      In other key areas, support for CPCS is widening. The leadership interns are supported by corporate donations from Carrier Corporation, Key Bank, and Chase Bank. Alumni and their families also have offered support, establishing the Robert B. Menschel Public Service Intern and the Marion Entwistle Leadership Intern. The Chancellor and Mary Ann Shaw plan to endow a leadership intern in the near future. And a gift from alumna Karen B. Winnick ’68 will provide financial support for literacy initiatives. “The Winnick funds will have a significant impact on promoting literacy in the Syracuse community by allowing CPCS to expand the content and scope of the Literacy Corps,” Mary Ann Shaw says.
Architecture professor David Gamble, left, and Maxwell professor Bill Coplin have been instrumental in the Wilson Park project. At right, architecture students present their models at Wilson Park.
      Support for creative experimenta- tion that will enhance the learning experience of students inside and outside the classroom is now available through the University’s own Vision Fund. In 1999, Heintz worked closely with Writing Program professors Eileen Schell and Margaret Himley from the College of Arts and Sciences on a successful Vision Fund proposal to develop a cluster of experiential courses that offer students an opportunity to work on writing projects for community organizations and to write about their public service activities. CPCS used part of the grant to hire student interns to oversee the project and to cover the cost of transporting the writing class students to local sites. Himley says CPCS staff helped open the doors to the local justice center and the county prison, so students can tutor inmates and teach them creative and life writing courses. “The experiential component puts learning into motion, recontextualizes it, and exposes the complexities of such topics as AIDS or literacy by setting the scholarly discourse alongside the voices and ideas of others,” Himley says. “The students often become invested in the volunteer experience and the political and ethical issues it raises for them. This inspires their writing and makes for interesting essays.”
      CPCS also formed a partnership with School of Architecture professor David Gamble on a Vision Fund proposal to launch the Community Design Center (CDC), an interdisciplinary workshop course created to involve students in designing and planning a physical environment. Through the CDC, students from a variety of academic disciplines participate in “real-world” projects involving local residents, nonprofit agencies, and community leaders. Most recently, the CDC organized architecture and public affairs students to design a new space for the Wilson Park Community Center—located within three blocks of campus in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods—and to create educational and recreational programs for the more than 400 area children. “Pam Heintz suggested that David Gamble and I get together to discuss the Wilson Park project idea,” Maxwell professor Bill Coplin says. “She was the critical connection we needed to bring people together and get things started because she knows the campus and community so well.”

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