Student leaders at the University of Southern Indiana will work with the University's Office of Service Learning to engage volunteers in the Outdoor Trails and Fitness Project.
This project will combine student leadership, community service, as well as academic and co-curricular service learning in upgrading and marketing the University's outdoor fitness amenities to the entire region surrounding Evansville, Indiana. Project partners will include regional employers, environmental organizations, and fitness groups.
Student leaders are members of a service-learning student group (Eagle Road Crew) and the Green Life Club, a student group focused on environmental issues. These student leaders will plan activities to improve the outdoor campus fitness facilities, recruit University students to volunteer for work days, engage and mentor students from a local alternative high school, and find community partners to participate in the project.
The Office of Service Learning will provide project support and mentoring, as well as recruitment of academic service learning courses to work on aspects of the project. Students have already identified higher than average rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer as a major issue in the region; and this project will include opportunities for students to educate the community about exercise, the importance of green space, and market outdoor activities.
Students volunteering in the project will participate in guided reflection, and the student leaders will design project goals and evaluation activities. The students initially involved in the project planning intend to focus the project activities on Bent Twig Trail, which is the shortest of the campus nature trails. The project will be kicked-off on MLK Day of Service with a work day. The trail opening and celebration, along with any project finishing activities, will be held on Global Youth Service Day.