David M. Granger


AUBURN -- Auburn University's Student Success Center has received a one- year, renewable $141,000 grant to place 20 AU students in service-learning positions with community leaders and other mentors in Alabama's Appalachian region.

The grant, from the Appalachian Regional Commission, will help support a campus-wide effort to identify and train capable students and expand AU's service- learning initiative, says Julia James, a program advisor in the Student Success Center.

"We are excited about this project and look forward to getting selecting and training the students and getting them into Alabama's Appalachian communities in the coming summer," she said. "Service-learning, where students provide services to constituencies outside the University, is an area where we hope to see a lot of added emphasis at Auburn in the future and this program should provide us a great start."

The ARC Leadership Clearinghouse Project will develop and test a model for university support of leadership development in the Appalachian region of the state. AU students from that region will be linked with community leaders and/or other mentors to work in community service programs in selected communities, demonstrating the value of service and the impact volunteer efforts can have on a community. The clearinghouse, which will be maintained at Auburn, will be the mechanism for identifying community needs and linking students with mentors and leadership training resources necessary to address those needs.

"The students we choose to participate will receive special training spring quarter prior to their service in the summer," James said. "They will apply that training in their projects and share the lessons they learn with other students and mentors involved in the program via a website based here at Auburn.

"The website will contain information on the programs, which will serve as a way to spread the word about the program to communities that are not participating, and a list of those students who are or have been involved. We will also link to the Appalachian Regional Commission's website in Washington, D.C., so that local, regional and national information will be easily attainable through the Auburn-based site."

James said the AU students will work in any of several types of agencies, etc., where a need is identified (including chambers of commerce, schools, hospitals, county and city commissions or councils, extension offices, etc.) in one of the 37 Alabama counties in the Appalachian region.

The Appalachian region includes all or part of the following Alabama counties: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Dekalb, Elmore, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pickens, Randolph, St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.

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CONTACT: James, 334/844-4452