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Showcase Spotlights Public-Service Projects

November 28, 2007

Madeline Vann

A little bragging can be a good thing, especially when it highlights the work of more than 800 Tulane students, their community partners and faculty members through the Tulane Center for Public Service. On Thursday (Nov. 29), students will tell the stories of their work through presentations and digital media.

Ana Lopez and Vincent Ilustre

Ana Lopez, left, senior associate provost, and Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Center for Public Service, are proud to showcase the work of Tulane students, faculty and community partners. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The center is presenting a showcase of community service work on Thursday from 3 until 6 p.m. in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life on Tulane’s uptown campus.

“These service projects extend students’ learning beyond the classroom,” says Amanda Buberger, assistant director for campus-community partnerships. “This event helps give them closure by talking about what they did and what they learned. Also, they get recognition at the event.”

Buberger explains that the purpose of the showcase is to bring the center’s partners, participating faculty members and service-learning students, student interns and student volunteers together to conduct outreach, share the products of their work and teach each other about what they have learned over the course of the fall semester.

The event, which includes performances, posters, presentations and video work, also gives new partners, faculty and students an opportunity to see examples of what they can do in future semesters and to network, adds Vincent Ilustre, the center’s executive director.

The public-service graduation requirement at Tulane has been very successful, says Buberger. Students are required to complete at least two academic courses tied to public service. One of the courses is a service-learning course taken during the first two years of a student’s enrollment at Tulane. The other required public-service experience relates to an upper-level service-learning course, internship, independent study, honors thesis or capstone project during the second half of the undergraduate curriculum.

“The students stay engaged,” she adds. “I know of several who have found jobs through their work with our partners. Plus, it helps them get to know New Orleans in a different way.” The center has worked with more than 178 community partners since its inception.

This year, the showcase features the debut of a public-service video covering five of the center’s partners: the Neighborhoods Partnership Network, New Orleans Outreach, the Renaissance Project, Gulf Restoration Network and Upward Bound.

The video was produced as part of a seminar that brought together a team of Tulane faculty, administrators and staff with video production experience to advise a group of staff, community partners, students and Americorps VISTA member liaisons.

The group aimed to produce a training manual and template to assist future public-service students with making public-service videos for community partners, using resources available at the center. The center plans to carry out similar seminars around the most commonly requested public-service projects such as websites and grant writing, Buberger says.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000