Community Engagement

Drury students will lend a hand for Make A Difference Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 24, 2014 — Approximately 50 Drury University students will work on three community projects this Saturday, Oct. 25 during Make A Difference Day, the country’s largest nationally recognized day of service. DU students will join millions of others around America in lending a helping hand to improve the lives of others.

Additionally, as part of Make A Difference Day, Drury students have collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to contribute to Stomp Out Hunger. Drury joins Missouri State University, Evangel, OTC and SBU in this annual shoe drive. On the final day of the drive today, Drury won the Golden Boot Award for collecting the most shoes per capita amongst the five local colleges.

At Drury, Make a Difference Day is called the President’s Day of Service, and President David Manuel and First Lady Betty Coe Manuel will be working alongside Drury students at two project sites.

Dr. Manuel and about 15 students will be painting red Christmas kettles for the Salvation Army from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Harbor House, 636 N. Boonville Ave. The Harbor House is a shelter and rehabilitation facility for homeless men. Some of the Harbor House residents will also be painting kettles. The media contact for this event is Emily Journagan, public relations and events coordinator for the Salvation Army, (417) 763-1357.

The other two projects are:

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K – Betty Coe Manuel and DU students will assist organizers along the route and support runners and walkers during the race. The event takes places from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Jordan Valley Park. Mrs. Manuel will join the Harbor House team after the race.

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Park Fall Fest – Students will assist with children’s activities from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm park is located at 3825 W Farm Road 146.

“Being a part of the largest national day of service is exciting and the students truly enjoy opportunities to engage in the Springfield community,” says Courtney Swan, director of community outreach and leadership development. “The chance to serve alongside President and Mrs. Manuel makes the experience all the more meaningful.”

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Freshman CORE class builds a “Little Free Library”

One Drury freshman class is plunging into the grassroots, community sharing network that has inspired Springfield and cities across the world to start their own Little Free Library.

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that started in 2010 and has since grown to become an international movement. It embraces the “take a book, leave a book,” motto in hopes of promoting literacy and the joy of reading.

Simply put, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where local residents may stop by and pick up a book or share one with their community. Most look something like a large birdhouse that can hold anywhere between 25-100 books at a time. They are hand-made and are often feature colorful paint jobs or other playful visual flair.

In January 2014, there were an estimated 15,000 registered Little Free Libraries in the world, with thousands more being built. Springfield already has eight locations. Maps and photos can be found online at Littlefreelibrary.org.

Professor Jo Van Arkel, chair of the Drury English department, was inspired to create a Little Free Library with her freshman CORE class. CORE classes are required courses that give students an introduction to the college experience through a variety of topics. Van Arkel hopes people in the community will develop a sense of ownership and contribute to the library after its installation in late October.

“Libraries are in transition,” said Van Arkel, “but they still serve an essential role in building communities, promoting literacy and preserving the free exchange of ideas that we expect in a democratic society.”

Little Free Library build

Students in Van Arkel’s class broke up into three groups and share a responsibility in the installation of the library. Students built the library from a kit, conducted a demographic study of the neighborhood where it would be placed, and brainstormed different ideas of what types of books the library should hold.

The library will be located on Scott Streetwithin walking distance of Pipkin Middle School, Central High School, and St. Joseph Catholic Academy. It will hold between 25 and 30 books, and the classhopes to put young adult and youth novels in the library, as well as classic literature and non-fiction. Anyone wishing to donate can contact Van Arkel at jvanarke@drury.edu.

Like most other Little Libraries, it was built to be weather resistant and will be at an easily accessible location to attract a wide variety of people.

The class’s next step is to collect book donations. Collection bins will be placed in three locations: outside Dr.Van Arkel’s office on the 3rd floor of Pearsons, outside of Kathy Jester’s office on the 2nd floor of Pearsons, and inside the Olin Library, which will also display the recently constructed Library.

Little Free Library group

Van Arkel hopes that her students will continue checking in with the Library throughout their four years at Drury and that the English honors society can get involved with the project in the future.

“Some of my earliest and happiest memories as a child were of going to the library and bringing home a pile of books. Books were magical to me then and they still are now,” said Van Arkel. “The Little Free Library is a simple concept that captures some of that spirit — it invites curiosity and at the same time encourages the kind of generosity that comes with sharing.”

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Students help Missouri Hotel residents unlock expressive potential

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 11, 2014 — For fourteen years, a unique class at Drury University has helped residents of the Missouri Hotel unlock their expressive potential and encouraged them to think about their lives in new ways.

The class is called Building Community Through the Arts and its goal is to provide the Hotel residents an artistic outlet over the course of two weeks, with a final public exhibition from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Friday, June 13 at the Missouri Hotel, 420 W. Commercial St. The Missouri Hotel provides shelter to homeless men, women and children. It is a program of The Kitchen, Inc.

The course offers the students an experiential approach to everyday living and learning, while giving them a chance to make a difference in the Drury neighborhood at the same time. It is open to graduate and undergraduate students of all majors and the 2014 class includes those studying biology, theater, religion, education, architecture and more. The seven students have been using their varied skill sets to connect with the residents of the Missouri Hotel.

“The idea is to inspire them, motivate them and give them something that’s their own and that they can feel proud of,” says Madison Miles, a fourth-year architecture major.

This year’s theme is “Don’t Stop Believing” and some of the artistic endeavors have included dancing, singing, drawing, paper weaving, designing T-shirts and more. Some of the subject matter has been heartfelt – such as the reactions to the 2012 fire that briefly displaced residents and damaged several rooms at the facility.

“Through art, we are getting to know them and they’re getting to know us,” says Yufei Zhao, a senior religion and philosophy major.

Students gain valuable insights and context about poverty through the book A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. The text has been in the spotlight in the Springfield community during the last year, including a high-profile visit by the author in February.

“It’s apparent very quickly that it’s a false stigma that these are people who are untalented or uneducated,” says Evan Stelzer, a senior psychology major.

The Drury students are learning about the power of connecting with others from different backgrounds — and about the power of art.

“So much can be said through art,” says senior biology major Ali Barnes. “Before I took this class, I did not know you could do such a thing.”

Media are invited to cover the class as they work with Missouri Hotel residents from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. today and Thursday, and the reception on Friday. The reception is free and open to the public.

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Engaged Learning Summit highlights community action

Community engagement is a lynchpin of education at Drury University, and a recent event spotlighted students’ efforts  to reach out beyond the campus’s borders.

Drury’s first Engaged Learning Summit was a chance for local leaders to hear first-hand from students who are translating their course work into community action in a variety of ways. The efforts are also summarized in a new Annual Community Engagement Report available online.

“We are committed to measuring our worth in part by our capacity to leave the Ozarks better than the way we found it,” Charles Taylor, vice president for academic affairs, told those gathered.

When measured in time and dollar value, that worth is large indeed. Drury students provide more than 148,000 hours of local service annually, and the estimated value of those hours is more than $2.8 million.

Students discussed projects such as multi-year study of invertibrates and water quality in Jordan Creek. The data collected and analyzed by environmental science students could help guide the City of Springfield’s efforts to further update the waterway with a more natural streambed. Another highlight was the “Art of Space” projects undertaken by architecture students who create interactive spatial art installations during events such as First Friday Art Walks.

Former Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson listens to Drury architecture students describe "Art of Space."

Former Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson listens to Drury architecture students describe “Art of Space.”

Others included Drury Scholars, which gives local African-American middle and high school students a taste of the college experience, and the Intergenerational Rock Band, which pairs music therapy students with older community members to perform live concerts together.

“What is good for Drury is good for the community, and vice versa,” said Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce President Jim Anderson. “This event is the embodiment of what’s good for Drury and the community.”

Brian Fogle, president of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, appreciated hearing from the students themselves.

“It’s a rewarding experience to see students so engaged in the community, and excited to talk about their work and impact,” Fogle said. “Not only will that benefit them throughout their lives, it should benefit Springfield as they feel more connected to our community.”

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Story by Mike Brothers, Drury’s director of media relations. A version of this story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Summit will highlight Drury’s present and future engaged learning efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 30, 2014 — Drury University will host its inaugural Engaged Learning Summit on Friday, May 2 to discuss the many ways in which students, faculty and staff are reaching out beyond the campus to enrich our community. The summit also marks the beginning of an enhanced collaboration with community leaders to strengthen these efforts.

The event is by invitation only but media are invited to cover the summit. The summit will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center, located on the southwest corner of Drury Lane and Bob Barker Boulevard.

Drury leaders and students will report on the already robust state of community engagement at the University, as well as look ahead to the “Drury Connect” concept, which aims to strengthen those efforts. The heart of Drury Connect is the establishment of nine advisory councils in areas that include the environment, business and economic development, healthcare, the performing arts and architecture. Members of these councils include some of the region’s most influential leaders who will help shape Drury’s academic and community agenda in each area. Several of those who have committed to serve on a Drury Connect advisory council will be in attendance Friday.

“Springfield’s history of collaboration between town and gown is one we cherish and are committed to strengthening,” says Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We want to demonstrate the added value we can provide to the community we serve, and show the community that this is the lens through which we view the work of educating our students.”

In addition to an overview of Drury Connect, several students will be on hand to make poster presentations about their recent engaged learning efforts. These efforts include work with local schools, performing arts projects, architecture and design projects, and more.

For more information about the Engaged Learning Summit and Drury Connect, contact: Dr. Charles Taylor, Vice President for Academic Affairs, (417) 873-7391 or ctaylor@drury.edu

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Drury hosts first International Culture Fair for local schools April 28

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Apr. 28, 2014 — Drury hosts an International Culture fair for local school students in the Findley Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

About 400 students from Boyd, McGregor, Pipkin, and Central will be attending the fair.  Throughout the day, students will have the chance visit 11 booths representing 13 different countries. Drury volunteers will lead the students through the fair to learn more about each country’s culture and language.

At each booth, students will also participate in a traditional activity from the represented country. Activities may include learning a traditional dance, playing an instrument, or tasting authentic food from one of the highlighted cultures.  Students will also receive a passport booklet with questions relating to the country and receive a stamp in their passport after each visit.  They will also receive souvenirs related to the fair and their visit to Drury.

“The hope is that student will not only learn about what life is like around the world, but that they will also grow to understand and appreciate the incredible cultural diversity here in Springfield,” says Dr. Heidi Backes, assistant Professor of Spanish at Drury. “I am very excited to be able to offer this experience to local students, and my campus volunteers are equally thrilled to get to share their love international culture and travel.”

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Springfield’s first Nonprofit Impact Report will spotlight sector’s influence

What kind of impact do nonprofit organizations truly have in Springfield? While many would say their influence is indeed large, it’s often hard to quantify. A new report from Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Communication (CNC) seeks to answer this question.

The Nonprofit Impact Report – the first of its kind to be conducted in our area – contains information on more than 1,500 nonprofit organizations located within Springfield city limits. The data comes from IRS 990 filings, a recent nonprofit salary survey conducted by the CNC, the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and more. It is the result of 18 months of study.

The report will be released at a news conference at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 23 at the auditorium in the Hammons School of Architecture building on the Drury campus. The event is open to the public and media are invited to attend. The report’s authors will be available for interviews immediately afterward. Parking is available in lots 1, 7 and 12, though spaces may be limited.

“Although most of the information used to create this report is publicly available, it takes time and expertise to analyze and dissect it all,” says Dan Prater, Director of the CNC at Drury. “The report provides solid data that helps reveal the full magnitude of what nonprofits do in our community – and turns out the impact is huge.”

The 44-page report contains information about the number and percentage of Springfield workers employed in the nonprofit sector, average annual budgets, nonprofit density compared to other metro areas, whether or not services are being duplicated, and exactly how well nonprofits are responding to the “red flag” issues identified in the long-running Community Focus Report. The information is also highly valuable to nonprofits themselves, as they are more and more often asked to provide hard data when seeking grants and donations.

The April 23 news conference will last about one hour and feature a panel of those who worked on the report, including Prater; Dr. Curt Gilstrap, Associate Professor of Communication at Drury; Dr. Sun-Young Park, Assistant Professor of Communication at Drury; and Dr. Sarah Smith, special advisor to the Center for Nonprofit Communication.

“Nonprofits are ultimately a public trust, much like government,” Prater says. “Our investment via donations means the whole community has a stake in what nonprofits do, and a stake in their success or failure. We believe this information will be helpful and insightful for both the nonprofits themselves and the community at large.”

The Nonprofit Impact Report will be made available free to nonprofit organizations and others in attendance at the end of the news conference. The report will be made available online afterward.

For more information, contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Communication, (417) 873-7443; or Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations, (417) 873-7390.

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Drury’s Humanities Film Series at the Moxie Resumes on Saturday

The Moxie Film Series presented by the Drury University Humanities & Ethics Center will resume Saturday afternoon with a showing of Vittorio De Sica’s influential and thought-provoking “Bicycle Thieves.” The series is made possible with the help of a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. The screens are open to the public. The cost is $7, the regular matinee ticket price.

The partnership between Drury and the nonprofit Moxie Cinema put films that ask enduring questions about the human condition in the spotlight – and adds an open, facilitated discussion to the mix. Before and after each showing, a Drury professor leads a group discussion about the movie’s themes. The pre- and post-film discussions are about 30 minutes each.

“Bicycle Thieves,” released in 1948, is regarded by critics as one of the most influential films of all time, and has won praise from sources as diverse as Entertainment Weekly and the Vatican. Sight & Sound magazine rates it as one of the top ten films ever made, and it is near the top of the British Film Institute’s list of movies young people should see by age 14.

The pre-show discussion for “Bicycle Thieves” begins at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 29, at the Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Ave. The film is about 90 minutes long. Dr. Kevin Henderson, assistant professor of English, will lead the discussions.

The 1 p.m. start time remains the same for the final two movies in the series as well:

Saturday, April 5 – “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” (2003), directed by Ki-Duk Kim. Dr. Hue-Ping Chin, professor of history, will lead the discussions.

Saturday, April 12 – “Good Hair” (2009), produced by Chris Rock. Dr. Elizabeth Nichols, professor of Spanish, will lead the discussions.

For more information about the series and featured films, visit the series web page.

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Student Group Continues its Work with Art Inspired

Drury Enactus, formerly known as SIFE, has been hard at work this year expanding the business they helped develop three years ago, Art Inspired. In collaboration with Abilities First, Art Inspired was created to offer meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities.

Officially launched in August 2012, Art Inspired has grown and transformed in the short time it has been open. It started as a document disposal agency that converts recycled paper into artwork. Some of the products available for sale include frames, stationary, decorative letters, wine racks, and even furniture. 

Each year, Drury Enactus works with Art Inspired to help broaden its appeal and revenue. The business now includes an art gallery, art classes, and a “creation” station where customers can use the store’s paper and supplies to decorate their purchased product at a cost of $5 an hour.

Matt Hill, en employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder. He's using material make from shredded paper.

Matt Hill, an employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder using material made from shredded paper.

This year, Drury Enactus has worked with Central High School’s Special Education Department to develop an internship program at Art Inspired. Now included in their curriculum, students in one of Central’s Special Education classes travel to Art Inspired twice a week to learn about customer service and job shadow some of the current employees.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to get real-world experience,” says Drury Enactus member Emma Wheat. “They go through the job application process, learn about work place etiquette, and gain skills to put on their resume.”

Drury Enactus is also working with Art Inspired to expand its event space rentals. For $100 an hour, people can rent out the space for up to four hours. Art Inspired can also coordinate the rental of chairs, tables, sound systems, food, and other services for an additional charge. It can hold 150 people seated or 250 standing.

This versatile space has already been used for a networking event with the Chamber of Commerce, wedding receptions, office and social events, and art exhibits. The artwork of Edward Deeds, an Ozark man who spent most of his life in a mental hospital in Nevada, Mo., was revealed at a gala event during March’s First Friday Art Walk and is currently displayed at Art Inspired.

Without help from the Springfield community, none of these endeavors would have been possible, says Dr. John Taylor, faculty advisor of Drury Enactus.

“The core mission of Art Inspired is to serve as an employment and growth opportunity for individuals with special needs,” Taylor says. “Everything the Enactus team does in its partnership with Art Inspired serves that mission. In order for the business to fulfill its mission, we need the support of the community. Their patronage is key to the success of the store.”

The Drury team will present their work and compete at the 2014 Enactus National Exposition April 1-3. For more information about Art Inspired, visit its website or Facebook page, or the store location at 310 S. Campbell Ave.

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury.  A version of this story originally ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Area Businesswomen Honored at Annual Entrepreneurship Event

Two outstanding women business owners were honored today at the 6th Annual Women in Entrepreneurship Symposium. Winners were announced the conference’s closing luncheon.

Hurts Donut Co., co-owned by Kas Clegg, was chosen as the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year. Clegg co-owns the business with her husband, Tim. Located at 301 Park Central West, the shop opened in November and builds on recent boutique pastry trends.

Other nominees included: Fleur (Lisa Clary & Kim Wood); Behavioral Learning Center, LLC (Ginger Crabtree); School of Rock (Jennifer Jester); and Bodacious Cases, LLC (Arianna Russell).

Jennifer Wilson, founder and principle architect at nForm Architecture, was chosen Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Exceptional client service and environmentally responsible design are the cornerstones of the firm, which opened in 2007 and is located in downtown Springfield. Jennifer is a native of Springfield. She obtained her architecture degree from the University of Arkansas. She is licensed in Missouri and is a LEED-AP.

Other nominees included: Deborah Bellotti & Candice Carson (The Buzz restaurant) and Jennifer Choi (Rose Diamonds Custom Design & Repair).

To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 50 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

“We’re thrilled to highlight all of our nominees and show that women in our area have a strong and successful entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dr. Kelley Still, director of Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, or EJC.

The EJC hosts WES in order to provide women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. This year more than 150 people attended the half-day symposium.