Civic engagement awards reception kicks-off annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service

Bloomington— Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting its 14th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service on Wednesday, April 26 through Friday, April 28. Kicking off the event on Wednesday, was a civic engagement awards reception held to recognize recipients for their contributions to community. The reception took place on main campus, in Shreve Hall at 4 p.m.

“Civic engagement is part of the educational environment at Ivy Tech Bloomington,” said Jennie Vaughan, Chancellor at Ivy Tech Bloomington. “Our surveys indicate that in the past year alone, our campus has donated 85,583 volunteer service hours, for a total contribution of more than $2M in the communities we serve, according to figures from independentsector.org.”

The Excellence in Volunteerism award recipient is Melissa Rowe, Ivy Tech Bloomington’s assistant director of accounts payable, for her work with Becky’s Place in Bedford, Ind. In addition, she volunteers for the campus sustainability committee and consistently grows her hair and donates it to a real wigs program for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

The Student Excellence in Volunteerism award recipient is Alicia Blatz, healthcare specialist student, for her involvement with various nonprofit community organizations including South Central Community Action Program Thriving Connections (formerly Circles Initiative), the Bloomington Housing Authority Resident Council, and her children’s Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts groups.

The Excellence in Service Learning award recipient is Dr. Samantha Levy-Arnold, associate professor of English and communication, for her work in making service learning a centerpiece of her English Composition 111 class. Last fall, her students engaged in reading and writing about the elections and then volunteered to work the polls, and this spring, her students have chosen their own projects.

The Jeanine C. Rae Humanitarian award recipient is Rob Parab, biotechnology student and Phi Theta Kappa vice president of leadership, for his volunteerism at various campus events but mostly for his willingness to help fellow students succeed in their classes. Nominations indicated that Parab is a model student who goes out of his way to help others.

The Community Organization Partner award recipient is IU Center for Human Growth, for its 10 years of service providing mental health counseling to Ivy Tech students at no charge. Doctoral students at IU studying educational psychology earn practicum hours toward their degree while providing a necessary service to students on Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus.

“To date this partnership has provided nearly a half-million dollars in mental health counseling to Ivy Tech students, at no cost,” said Chancellor Vaughan. “The work that Dr. Lynn Gilman and her team have done has made a positive, lasting impact on our students. This award is just a small token of our appreciation to the Center’s decade-long commitment.”

The John R. Whikehart Civic Engagement award recipient is Carol Litten Touloukian, M.D. for her dedication to both Ivy Tech Bloomington and the community.

“Carol has served in a leadership role at Ivy Tech Bloomington for capital campaigns, the Waldron advisory board, and plays and integral role in the planning of our annual Showcase of Chefs and Wine donor appreciation event,” said Chancellor Vaughan. “In addition, Carol and her family are generous scholarship donors for students on our campus.”

Touloukian’s commitment to civic engagement also includes a long list of community and professional service, such as MCCSC, Indiana State Department of Health, New Hope for Families, among others. She has served as medical advisor for Head Start of Monroe County, Well Baby Clinic, and WIC. Touloukian has volunteered in various capacities at the Monroe County Board of Health, CASA, and the Boys and Girls Club. She was consultant and avid advocate for Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

More than 350 people will take their seats tomorrow evening, Thursday, April 27, in Ivy Tech’s Shreve Hall for a sold out fundraising dinner with speaker Jon Meacham, Presidential historian, and for presentations by Ivy Tech’s Youth Leadership Academy.

Volunteers for the annual Day of Service will gather in Shreve Hall on Friday morning for a kickoff continental breakfast and motivational remarks from Judy O’Bannon beginning at 8:30 a.m. Afterward, more than 600 volunteers, including nearly 30 business partners, will disperse into the community to serve area nonprofits and help Ivy Tech Bloomington reach the goal of providing 1000 hours of service in one day. Volunteers will document their service by posting pictures to social media using #IvyTech1000Hours.

Volunteer slots are still available at www.ivytech.edu/obannon. Click on Day of Service to sign up.

About the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service

The O’Bannon Institute for Community Service (ivytech.edu/obannon) was established in 2004 by Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss topics related to nonprofits, education and political and civic service. Previous speakers at the Institute have included former U.S. Senators, Pulitzer prize-winning authors, Governors, political advisers and columnists, and Laura W. Bush, former First Lady of the United States

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