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[PHOTO] Stepping Up: Summer 2008

Ties that bind

In many respects, IUPUI is built to serve. The campus eagerly embraces its vision of a future built in tandem with the community.

The campus is home for the world-renowned Center on Philanthropy, which is training civic leaders of the present and assessing the impact philanthropy has on cities and communities throughout the world. IUPUI has built entire scholarship programs around service to the community, and even created the Center for Service Learning to oversee the use of volunteer opportunities as learning experiences.

IUPUI-based health schools like medicine, dentistry and nursing have long used neighborhood clinics as training ground for students, who help people now while honing their skills for the future. Through programs like nursing's Mom-Mobile and dentistry's Seal Mobile, that community support brings help to individual neighborhoods. The medical school's Sound Medicine program offers practical health tips to radio listeners. School of Law-Indianapolis students apply their newly learned skills by helping city residents with tax cases and basic legal issues.

In addition to such service-oriented infrastructure, IUPUI is actively involved in numerous special events that are traditional links between IUPUI and the community.

Events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Outrun the Sun, which battle breast cancer and melanoma, respectively, are sponsored and hosted in part by IUPUI. Moreover, campus researchers have received funding through events such as those, enabling them to aggressively work toward cures and treatments that alleviate suffering. The Spirit & Place Civic Festival, born in the Polis Center (part of the IUPUI-based School of Liberal Arts), has become an annual part of the city's cultural foundation, building bridges between the arts, the humanities and religious groups.

Students create their own special activities, too. They organize and manage fund-raising events such as the Jagathon dance marathon and the Rock for Riley concert series, both of which benefit Riley Hospital for Children on the IUPUI campus.

Passion to serve

Volunteerism is a big part of campus life at IUPUI. Students spend thousands of hours a year working in neighborhoods — food pantries, community centers, clinics, even individual homes — to connect with our neighbors and meet their needs.

Each Thanksgiving season, the campus generates significant donations of food for area food pantries as part of the Jam the Jaguars Bus food drive. Projects like Habitat for Humanity and the Martin Luther King Jr. "Day of Service" are packed with smiling faces ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Students help young women explore the field of engineering at POWER summer camp.

The university also offers efforts like the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and the Aftercare for Indiana through Mentoring (AIM) program to tackle the problems faced by prisoners once they've left a life behind bars.

In Inside-Out, a collaboration between the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and Liberal Arts, college students take a class side-by-side with prisoners at Indiana's Plainfield Re-Entry Educational Facility. It is designed to help the prisoners gain self-confidence as they re-enter society, and establish positive goals. AIM is a SPEA program in which IUPUI students mentor juvenile offenders, offering advice on jobs, health, education, social skills and money management.

Even summer camps hosted by IUPUI play a role in connecting city and campus. There are camps that revolve around sports, the life sciences, engineering and technology, the arts and more; but in the end, activities that once seemed to be little more than summer fun have now become a spark that rekindles the love of discovery. The youngsters, guided by IUPUI faculty, staff and students, are reminded that learning can be their passion, and not just a parent's dream.

Regardless of the path — events, research, partnerships or more — IUPUIís ties to the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana are strong and growing. Civic engagement isnít just what our students, faculty and staff do; itís at the heart of who we are: people determined to use what we know, what we learn and what we teach to shape a brighter future for the community that is our home.

And when it's done well, like a basketball coachís barefoot walk through winter, itís also more: it's a life lesson about the impact that any of us — or better, all of us — can have on those who live across the street, across the country, or around the world.