Civic Engagement Awards ceremony to kick off 2012 O’Bannon Institute on Wednesday evening


April 23, 2012

Civic Engagement Awards ceremony to kick off 2012 O’Bannon Institute on Wednesday evening

Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus will kick-off its annual signature O’Bannon Institute for Community Service three-day event by honoring faculty, staff, and student volunteers, as well as community partners during its Civic Engagement Awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 25 at 4 p.m., held in the Hoosier Times Student Commons in the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building.

“Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s commitment to service learning and civic engagement is evidenced by its collective contributions to the community,” John Whikehart, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus said. “In the past year, Ivy Tech’s service learning and community service hours total nearly 46,000 hours for a contribution of approximately $894,000 in our communities.”

Just this spring, Ivy Tech accounting class volunteers served over 700 clients by preparing taxes through the VITA program, and generated a college record of $1,200,000 in federal refunds for those clients.

Award categories for the 2012 O’Bannon Institute Civic Engagement awards ceremony include Community Partner Award, the new Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Community Partner Award, the new Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship Community Partner Award, Excellence in Service Learning, Excellence in Volunteerism, and the Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian Award.

The Community Partner awards honor organizations that the college works with throughout the year.

  • The first recipient is Boys and Girls Clubs. They have hosted community work studies, Ivy Tech AmeriCorps students, and interns. Recently, the organization partnered with Ivy Tech’s poetry class on a service learning project, Art into Poetry.
  • The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Community Partner award goes to the Bloomington Playwrights Project. In addition to the Ivy Tech/BPP educational partnership over the last year, BPP has played a significant role in strengthening the arts, economy, and the community.
  • The Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship award goes to Cook CEO Roundtable. Recently the group formed an alliance with the Center, and individual members made an investment to replace a valued tree that belonged to a resident in Bryan Park after vandals cut it down.

Recipients of the faculty Service Learning award are Roy Elkes and Steve Englert for their leadership efforts in the VITA program. Since 2004, VITA has been a learning “staple” for Ivy Tech accounting students.

Additionally, Robert Soto has been awarded for his Ivy Tech cultural diversity class Life History Project. His students interviewed residents of Bell Trace about their lives and preserved the interviews for families of the residents.

Excellence in Faculty/Staff Volunteerism award goes to Steve Hanson for his work with Homeward Bound to benefit the homeless. Additionally, Hanson has served for the past three years as director of the Monroe Tournament Division of USA Bassin Next Generation, a youth fishing tournament. In 2011, the classic tournament offered $21,000 in college scholarships to winners.

Recipient of the Student Volunteerism award goes to Daniel Stec for his participation in Alternative Spring Break 2011, as well as participating in two mission trips to Haiti with his church. He is involved with Student Leadership Academy, Campus Activities Board, and nursing club. Stec also works for International Student Exchange, a nonprofit organization, finding host families for students traveling to study in the United States.

The Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian award recipient is Jerrilyn Zeigler for her positive attitude and commitment to Ivy Tech through her student life involvement. She is a student ambassador, SGA member, and volunteer. Zeigler attended Alternative Spring Break 2011 and will be attending Western Kentucky University when she leaves Ivy Tech.

“I would like to congratulate and thank this year’s civic engagement award winners, and all Ivy Tech volunteers, for making volunteer contributions to our community possible,” said Whikehart.

More information about the annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service can be found online at

Information about Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s Center for Civic Engagement can be found at online

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually.  Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.