Grant exceeding $98,000 awarded to BVU by Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program

Grant program impacts Education for Service effort, Buenafication Day, professional development, and more.

Campus Compact’s AmeriCorps Program this month awarded Buena Vista University (BVU) a grant totaling more than $98,000 to allow the University to continue growing its AmeriCorps service program. The award represents the largest grant BVU has received from Iowa Campus Compact.

“We are extremely grateful for this award and excited about the opportunities we have to continue working with Iowa Campus Compact in educating more students while serving more nonprofits in and around Storm Lake,” says Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, BVU assistant vice president of student success and director of community engagement.

Central to this winning relationship between BVU and the Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program is the inaugural Education for Service Scholars effort that last year involved 10 Buena Vista County students who earned tuition-free scholarships. A portion of the scholarship program came via their enrollment in the Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program where they volunteer 300 hours annually at entities such as Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc., Methodist Manor, The Bridge, and more.

“The Education for Service Scholars program is a terrific example of the potential of partnerships between AmeriCorps and institutions."

Emily Shields

Those students in the initial cohort are the first members of their family to attend college. A second group of 10 students begins its service with the Campus Compact AmeriCorps Program when the 2019-2020 academic year commences.

“As freshman, our EFS students begin their AmeriCorps service on an entry level,” Farmer-Hanson says. “Our goal is to see them add responsibilities within their service organizations so that by the time they are sophomores, juniors, and seniors, they will have more major roles and will be doing research projects dedicated to measuring the impact of service in the community.”

“The Education for Service Scholars program is a terrific example of the potential of partnerships between AmeriCorps and institutions,” says Emily Shields, Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact executive director. “We are able to leverage federal resources to support student success and meet critical needs.”

AmeriCorps service, Farmer-Hanson notes, is not limited to EFS students at BVU. Amanda Miley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in May, earned the Iowa Campus Compact Award for Student Leadership.

BVU’s AmeriCorps participants receive grants totaling $1,289 each academic year to help offset education costs. The grant program has also helped provide funding for a pair of staff positions in addition to funding the work of student leaders in BVU’s new Center for Diversity & Inclusion.

“This year, we plan to dedicate some of the funding for two student leaders in the BVU School of Education who will operate our new Book Beavers Bibliotrike, a children’s library on wheels as it goes out into the community to reach young readers,” Farmer-Hanson says.

BVU students will also tap this grant program for assistance in professional development, allowing more students to participate in regional and national conferences dedicated to education and service. Additionally, the funding aids ongoing efforts related to Buenafication Day, a campus-wide day of service in the community that BVU has observed for 106 years.

“Our partnership with BVU represents the best of what we can achieve when institutional priorities align with community needs,” Shields concludes. “Community engagement offers a path for students to succeed academically and give back.”