KOKOMO, Ind. — A campus garden, a practicum in Central America for nurse practitioner students, and an information literacy education program share in more than $150,000 distributed throughout the Indiana University system, in grants from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC).
IU Kokomo’s Office of Sustainability, School of Nursing, and Library were among 20 programs, representing seven IU campuses, that received funding, with grants ranging from $500 to $18,000. IU Kokomo programs received a total of $36,450 in funding, and were were selected from 37 applications.
The WPLC funded a campus garden, led by Leda Casey and Kim Mossburg, which will provide healthy, organic food options for students in the cafeteria and in the Cougar Cupboard food pantry, through a voucher system. Products will also will be sold at a low-cost market for faculty, staff, and students.
The garden also provides an opportunity for research for faculty students, and a source for the nutrition lab.
Mossburg noted that it can address not only nutritional issues, but also social and emotional, and physical health, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes type 2.
“Many of these diseases are associated with obesity, which develops due to negative interactions of dietary choices, environment, lifestyle, genetic and hormonal influences,” she said. “There is positive evidence for possible health promotion results from gardening endeavors.
“The potential impact of this project is tremendous,” said Casey, noting that students will be employed to maintain the garden. “Community gardens have been reported to have positive impacts on both physical activity and nutrition, with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, land diversity, social well-being, and food provision among the documented research findings.”
The WPCL also supports a four-day international practicum for students in the School of Nursing’s family nurse practitioner program. Under the leadership of Mary Steinke, assistant clinical professor, they will provide assessment and diagnosis, and perform non-invasive interventions for patients at a women and children’s clinic and an in-patient facility for treatment of malnourished children in Guatemala.
“This practicum is a new offering, and will provide our students the unique opportunity to learn about the health care in another country and a different culture, barriers to access to health care, as well as diagnose and treat illnesses that may be unfamiliar to them,” said Steinke. “We are very grateful for this grant, as it will help establish an international program in which the students will receive hands-on clinical experience.”
The Library gained funding as part of a collaborative project with the IU Bloomington Library, to develop an information literacy online toolkit. Using content created by librarians from multiple campuses, the toolkit will provide video tutorials that help students discern online information as credible, reliable, and authentic. Instructors may use it to provide a pathway to integrate information literacy principles into their classes.
“I love that we’re doing something with libraries across IU,” said Polly Boruff-Jones, dean of the Library, noting that many existing information literacy programs focus on evaluating information once it is found. This new program also provides framework for the process leading up to evaluation.
“Being able to identify the fact that you need a piece of information, and being able to describe what you need, is the first step,” she said. “That is some of the hardest work. Then you have to know where to find the information you need, before you can evaluate it. This gives us a nice framework to do that.”
The library program received funding from the IU Foundation Board of Directors, which along with the Well House Society -- one of the foundation's donor recognition societies -- continued to support the council's grant program, pledging $25,000 in supplemental funding to grant applicants.
"Through WPLC grants, our donors are able to support a variety of programs that both improve the student experience and provide value to the community," said Penny Gaither, council grants chair. "As we hear from each grant finalist, we truly are in awe of the possibilities proposed and then accomplished each year -- and it seems each year's group gets better than the one before. It is an honor to help guide them through the process."
Since 2012, the WPLC has awarded more than $820,000 in grant funds. It prioritizes initiatives that develop women’s leadership, provide global experiences for IU students, improve public health, increase career and educational opportunities in STEM, particularly for women and underserved youth, and foster inclusion among diverse populations.
Council members, alumni and friends of IU support the fund with annual contributions. Applications for 2019 grants will be available in December 2018. For more information about grant criteria and applications, contact Charla Stonecipher, associate director of Women's Philanthropy at Indiana University, at email@example.com.