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F R O M

T H E

D I R E C T O R

Like any 3-year-old, the Center for the Advancement of Service-Learning Excellence (CASLE) experienced exciting growth over the past year. Mississippi State University has a strong desire for its students to be engaged in their communities, and service-learning is a big part of that engagement. Whether in the classroom or outside, MSU students have given of themselves, volunteered in community efforts, worked on community-based projects, and experienced nontraditional education. In 2015, CASLE once again joined with MSU President Mark Keenum to organize Stop Hunger Now, an effort involving 100-plus students who worked to pack more than 10,000 meals. Efforts such as this event show students ways they can better the world with just a few hours of volunteer work. This year’s meals were distributed to Kampala, Uganda, a region where 80–90 percent of the million-person population live with acute food storage and depend on relief efforts such as Stop Hunger Now. CASLE works with MSU faculty to tie service-learning into the academic setting. In the 2015–16 academic year, 23 MSU classes incorporated CASLE-organized projects into their academic work, including classes in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Fashion Design, Human Sciences, Art, and more. The Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge, supported by grants from the MSU Extension Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave students from five different classes the opportunity to work in groups to develop innovative products that utilized sweet potatoes as a core ingredient. This report shows the results of CASLE’s service-learning efforts, and it highlights MSU’s work with 30 community organizations.

In closing, we expect more growth for CASLE next year. We will be moving—organizationally—to become part of the Student Leadership and Community Engagement office. We look forward to working with colleagues in our new home to expand opportunities for service-learning into more classes, and to more students. CASLE will be a unique partnership among MSU’s Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Extension, and we welcome the opportunity to bring these three strong areas together for the betterment of our communities.

Dr. Rodney Pearson, Interim Director, CASLE

Director, Student Success

Professor, Management and Information Systems

C E N T E R F O R T H E A D VA N C E M E N T O F S E R V I C E - L E A R N I N G E XC E L L E N C E

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LEARN • SERVE • BECOME

CASLE could not function without its community partners, faculty, and students.

CASLE Magazine Spring 2016  
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