Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.74
Liaison Kathleen Crawford
Submission Date July 28, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Florida Gulf Coast University
EN-9: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jessica Rhea
Dir Comm Engage & Svc Learning
Service Learning
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “supportive”?:

A brief description of the institution’s supportive sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

FGCU has many partnerships throughout the community from providing service learning student volunteers to numerous sustainability-based organizations to faculty and staff sitting on community and governmental committees and boards. In addition, many of our faculty and staff serve as expert speakers on sustainability topics to groups like, Kiwanis, Rotary Clubs, and Chambers of Commerce. Our university Small Business Development Center assists local business with "going green" and promotes "green" businesses.

Here are a few specific partnerships that meet the supportive sustainability partnership criteria because they address a specific sustainability topic, involve financial and/or staff support, and: both campus and community leaders are engaged in program/project development:

Trails for Tails - Our Mission:
With the help and support of local businesses, FGCU students, and the community, we will be completing a week-long relay event across the state of Florida. We are working to raise $10,000 for The Conservation Fund and awareness for Florida’s endangered wildlife and disappearing natural habitat. The money we raise will go specifically to The Conservation Fund's projects throughout the state which help protect and conserve the natural habitat of Florida’s native species. http://www.fgcupinnacle.com/pinnacle-articles/upfront/collective-we-trails-tails

Gulf Coast Humane Society
The mission of the Gulf Coast Humane Society is to: Offer refuge, medical care, and a home for homeless animals in Lee County, Florida. Foster a public sentiment of humanity and gentleness toward animals, and protect them from cruelty, neglect, carelessness, and ignorance. Promote responsible pet ownership through humane education Enhance the quality of human life through animal companionship. For over 53 years we have maintained a non-profit shelter funded entirely by donations. Most of the animals in our shelter are owner surrenders. Of the animals put up for adoption, almost 100% find new homes either through the shelter adoption facilities or through our off-site adoption facilities at PetsMart.

University Colloquium is a required course for all FGCU undergraduate students. Through this course students are exposed to many of our community partners through field and service trips. Partners meeting the supportive criteria for this credit that are part of the University Colloquium experience include:

CREW Land & Water Trust
The CREW Land & Water Trust was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to coordinate the land acquisition, land management, and public use of the 60,000-acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Delnor Wiggins is rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. With its white sugar sand it is one of the most popular destinations in South West Florida.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates
The Mission of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is to provide unique educational experiences based on the artifacts, legacy and lives of Thomas Edison & Henry Ford with emphasis on their Florida history.

Estero Bay Preserve State Park
The first aquatic preserve established in Florida, this is one of the most productive estuaries in the state. The bay is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the bald eagle.

Estero Island Historic Society
The Estero Island Historic Society Museum and Nature Center receives financial support through the University Colloquium fieldtrips.

Lakes Park Community Garden
Our goal as a garden community is to inspire people to appreciate plant communities by creating a unique and accessible destination that provides botanic education and volunteer opportunities.

Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation
Our Mission is to support Lee County Parks & Recreation through philanthropic and voluntary efforts promoting ongoing community awareness and support of the recreational and educational value of Lakes Park and its continuing evolution, to include a botanic garden and other enhancements, resulting in an even more attractive natural environment for the community to enjoy.

Mound Key Archaeological Site
Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island's complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery.

Shy Wolf Sanctuary
Mission Statement: To provide sanctuary for exotic animals in need of rescue and refuge, while screening and re-homing those better suited to family life.

Keep Lee County Beautiful
The Mission of Keep Lee County Beautiful is to protect the environment and improve the quality of life in Lee County by providing public education using mass communications and grassroots activities.

Koreshan State Historic Site
Throughout its history, Florida has welcomed pioneers of all kinds. Cyrus Reed Teed was probably the most unusual, bringing followers to Estero in 1894 to build New Jerusalem for his new faith, Koreshanity.

The Naples Preserve
The Preserve offers you one of your best opportunities in Southwest Florida to see gopher tortoises in their natural habitat, along with native wildflowers, trees, birds, butterflies, rabbits, and more.

+ Date Revised: Sept. 25, 2014

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “collaborative”?:

A brief description of the institution's collaborative sustainability partnership(s):

University Colloquium is a required course for all FGCU undergraduate students. Through this course students are exposed to many of our community partners through field and service trips. Collaborative partners that are part of the University Colloquium experience include. Each student must complete at least 10 hours of service as a requirement of the University Colloquium. Some instructors use a “One Class, One Project” approach wherein the entire class co-develops a project with the community partner. Some of these projects are for a single semester and others become multi-year projects in which the faculty member and the partner organization leader have an ongoing relationship. The service learning projects accomplished by the Colloquium students and instructors facilitate partnerships that meet the collaborative criteria because they address sustainability challenges that simultaneously support social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity and ecological health.

Here are some of the organizations with which FGCU has partnerships that meet the collaborative criteria from Colloquium projects and field trips and service learning projects:

Calusa Nature Center
Our mission is to develop a greater public awareness of and appreciation for the unique natural systems of Southwest Florida and to foster an understanding of earth and space science. Ongoing Colloquium classes contribute to animal care and upkeep at the Calusa Nature Center.

Collier County Parks and Recreation
Collier Co. Parks & Rec is dedicated to promoting health, wellness, alternative leisure activities, community involvement through sports and providing special events that bring the community together in a fun atmosphere. Ongoing Colloquium classes have been involved in contributing to habitat enchantment and public awareness projects to help gopher tortoise population at Barefoot Beach through this partnership.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is owned and operated by the National Audubon Society, whose mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds and other wildlife, for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Financial support is given to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary through the University Colloquium fieldtrips and ongoing service learning projects occur at this site.

ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Org.)
ECHO is an information hub for development practitioners around the world (http://echonet.org/what-we-do/). Financial support is given to EHCO through the University Colloquium fieldtrips in exchange for educational experiences. Additionally, the Food Forest gives moringa seeds to EHCO for a project that increases global food security.

Gulf Coast Foster Licensing & Placements of Southwest Florida & Children’s Network of Southwest Florida
Through a partnership with a Colloquium class, foster families from these two organizations came together to enjoy an Eco-Family Funday in which foster families spent the afternoon learning about the natural world within a peer-support system. The day included trail walks, food forest tours, and an “Animal Olympics” among other activities.

Happehatchee Center
Happehatchee Center is a sanctuary for peace and healing. Their mission is to sustain the Happehatchee Eco-spiritual Center as it provides environmental and healing arts education. Ongoing classes have done environmental education projects and assist the Center with marketing and garden upkeep.

Harns Marsh Elementary
A Colloquium instructor applied for a received a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture Fresh from Florida Program to start a school garden at Harns Marsh Elementary in Lehigh Acres. Several sequential Colloquium classes contributed to establishing the garden site.

Lee County Parks & Recreation
Lee County Parks and Recreation’s mission is to provide safe, clean and functional Parks & Recreation facilities. To provide programs and services that add to the quality of life for all Lee County residents and visitors. To enhance tourism through special events and attractions. We are committed to fulfilling this mission through visionary leadership, individual dedication and the trustworthy use of available resources. Ongoing university colloquium classes compete service leaning projects that enhance and protect Lee County Conversation 20/20 areas and spaces such as Matanzas Pass Preserve.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida
The Conservancy’s mission is to protect Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of life...now and forever. Dr. Marguerite Forest acts as the Andrew Endowed FGCU Liaison to the Conservancy. (http://www.conservancy.org/staff-directory)

Naples Botanical Garden at Kapnick Center
Naples Botanical Garden is creating a world class paradise that combines delightful cultivated tropical gardens with beautifully restored natural habitats. Ongoing Colloquium classes have worked to maintain different ecosystems and habitat gardens.

Urban Food Hub—Roots Heritage
Our urban garden and urban farm provides our community with fresh and nutritious food. Colloquium students do specific projects there that vary by semester depending on Roots Heritage’s needs and provide assistance in maintaining, planting and harvesting the garden.

+ Date Revised: Sept. 25, 2014

Does the institution have at least one formal sustainability partnership with the local community that meets the criteria as “transformative”?:

A brief description of the institution's transformative sustainability partnership(s) with the local community:

The following projects catalyze community resiliency and ecological and local/regional sustainability by simultaneously supporting social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health on a community/ regional scale. FGCU provides support for these projects and faculty or staff engage with partner organizations throughout the entire process of project development and implementation as described below.

“Wings of Hope” A partnership between FGCU & Lee and Collier County Public Schools
This program is an integral part of the Environmental Humanities curriculum and service learning at FGCU. University students are introduced to native Southwest Florida wildlife species, their habitats, water conservation and “green” ways a person can help our earth. They then bring this knowledge to young students in 1st - 5th grade with science-based environmental education programs. Elementary school students are bussed to FGCU or programs are presented in their schools - public and private schools in Collier and Lee Counties.

The following program description was taken from FGCU’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Application (http://myproject.nationalservice.gov/honorroll/VariableContent/PDFApplications/FloridaGulfCoastUniversity_16477_2014.pdf):
FGCU’s “Wings of Hope” Environmental Education Program is an academic service-learning program embedded in all 12 sections of Environmental Humanities each year. “Building bridges of hope for wildlife, water conservation, and the environment with education and awareness for college and elementary students and their families” is its mission. The course and integrated community-based service program align with multiple tenets of FGCU’s mission: [FGCU] “nurtures community partnerships, values public service, [and] encourages civic responsibility” and “practices and promotes environmental sustainability.”

This program is an integral part of the Environmental Humanities curriculum. University students are introduced to Southwest Florida wildlife species (Florida Panthers in particular), their habitats, and water conservation. They then bring this knowledge to 4th grade students through environmental education programs. After the programs are completed, all participants continue their mission of environmental awareness by educating family, friends, and the community with their knowledge.

Each year, 500 FGCU students in this course educate over 100 4th grade classrooms in two local counties. The “Wings of Hope” Program Director, 7 Federal Work-Study students, and course faculty prepare FGCU students for their service-learning experiences by providing training sessions. Over 4,000 elementary students come to FGCU and travel through 5 “Panther Posse Program” challenges where FGCU students teach them about panther kittens, radio collars, infrared cameras, wildlife tracks, natural history, and water conservation. The learning process involves hands-on activities, note-taking, and examination of scientific instruments.

These challenges integrate reading, writing, the arts, geography, math, and science. The FGCU students and elementary school students also visit panther habitats when they travel to CREW (Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed). Each FGCU student serves approximately 10 hours during the semester, totaling 5,000 service hours per academic year. The condition in the community that drives our institution to engage in this service is the decline of the Florida Panther: only 80 to 100 panthers remain in Florida, making it one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

This program is related to FGCU’s Institutional Commitment to Service in that the institution provides support for this academic service-learning experience through the hiring of a course coordinator, course faculty, and program director. Faculty integrate the program into their course and provide opportunities for students to reflect on their experience. The reflection assignments connect the science-based service-learning project with the humanities-based curriculum. Additional support has been provided by FGCU for this program in securing a permanent “Wings of Hope” training and teaching facility on campus.

Both the FGCU and elementary school students are assessed at the end of the semester by an “Educating Others” form and survey to evaluate their understanding of the environmental material presented and attitude toward the natural environment as a result of their experience. This data is collected annually to assess the effectiveness of the program and to ensure that both the needs of the community partners and the needs of the university are being met. Because all students are required to educate two additional people in the community, over 12,000 community members are impacted by this environmental education experience annually. The long-term benefit is educated citizens that will positively impact environmental policy based on current research that has found that environmental knowledge is consistently and positively related to environmental attitudes and that environmental knowledge and attitudes are assumed to influence environmental policy. Since 2000, the program has educated 7300 FGCU students and 85,000 elementary students.
Learn more at http://www.fgcu.edu/CAS/WingsofHope/index.html

"Fighting Hunger - Feeding Hope" A partnership between FGCU and the Harry Chapin Food Bank

The following program description was taken from FGCU’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Application (http://myproject.nationalservice.gov/honorroll/VariableContent/PDFApplications/FloridaGulfCoastUniversity_16477_2014.pdf):

Lee County was one of the hardest hit regions in the US by the current housing /mortgage crisis. As a result, food insecurity and emergency food assistance in our area have increased substantially. In response, FGCU has built a strategic community partnership with Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB) and has come together as a campus of “informed and engaged citizens” to support this agency and its many partner agencies. The mission of HCFB is to overcome hunger through education and by working in a cooperative effort with over 150 affiliated agencies in the procurement and distribution of food.
One example of this collaborative and concentrated effort was the FGCU Art Department’s Annual Empty Bowls Event, where local potters and FGCU Ceramic students make bowls, restaurants donate soup, and visitors pick a bowl and fill it with soup for a $15.00 donation. After this “soup kitchen” style meal, the bowl is kept as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the community. All proceeds go to Interfaith Caregivers of South Lee (ICSL), a HCFB Partner Agency. The 2012 event raised almost $5,000, and kept ICSL’s food pantry stocked for 6 months. Moreover, FGCU Housing came together to establish an end of semester food collection with 6 Donation Stations for students moving out of the dorms: over 1000 pounds of food was collected. In 2013, FGCU came together to promote and participate in the Annual HCFB Hunger Walk and raised over $26,947, which equates to $161,682 worth of food for our community. FGCU also secured an outside grant with Wells Fargo, through its Foundation, to support a large-scale Make A Difference Day event where FGCU faculty, staff, students, and Wells Fargo employees served at multiple community agencies for a day and HCFB was a partner site. Students also participated in multiple HCFB service projects that were organized by The Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement’s “Community Service” Federal Work Study student. In total, 12,264 hours, completed by 830 students, were dedicated to HCFB and its partner agencies in the 2012-13 academic year, which equates to approximately 17% of our students who participated in service connected to the issue of hunger.

To strengthen the partnership between FGCU faculty, students, and HCFB and its affiliated partners, FGCU invited many of these agencies and others to participate in a Campus Community Dialogue, sponsored by the “Bringing Theory to Practice” Grant through the Association of American Colleges and Universities. These funds allowed faculty and strategic partners to formulate new institutional structures that maintain reciprocal, mutually beneficial, and sustained partnerships. The objective of the seminar was to generate collaborative policies to improve the academic substance of engaged scholarship for our students and improve the organizational capacity of our community partners. An assessment framework was also created as an outcome of this dialogue and the framework was established to evaluate communication and feedback between FGCU and partner agencies – thus strengthening the relationship and improving long-term benefits between FGCU, HCFB, and its partner agencies.

Institutional support is also evidenced by the approval and funding of the Service Ambassador Position Institutional support is also evidenced by the approval and funding of the Service Ambassador Position (a student-led service reflection leader). FGCU has also addressed the issue of hunger on its own campus. The results of a needs survey (created by students) prompted the creation of a Campus Food Pantry. Our institution provides support for our pantry, which is affiliated with HCFB, by providing on-campus space. In its first year, the pantry, with 88 volunteers serving 1,100 hours, served 665 students experiencing food insecurity.

Learn more at http://www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry/

“Understanding Regional Issues and the Role of Citizenship through engaged service-learning experiences along the Corkscrew Watershed” a partnership between FGCU, CREW, and Bonita Nature Place

Student work at The Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW), which is dedicated to the preservation and stewardship of the water resources and natural communities in and around the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed, increased substantially as a result of a STEM Grant supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Florida Campus Compact
(FL/CC), in collaboration with CNCS, partnered with FGCU to bring a STEM Day Institute to its campus. Faculty members submitted applications to become FL/CC STEM Service-Learning Faculty Fellows and then participated in a series of workshops to assist in the creating or retooling of a course that promotes service-learning in the STEM disciplines or a STEM-related community project tied to course curriculum.

One STEM Fellow implemented a service-learning experience at CREW into his Environmental Science course to not only increase students’ knowledge related to course content, but to increase students’ understanding of what it means to be civically engaged. During this semester, students contributed a total of 150 hours of service to the partner agency. Results gathered from pre/post-tests, surveys, and reflection papers indicated growth in students’ understanding of environmental issues related to both regional and global issues as well as land-use changes in southwest Florida. Moreover, post results showed a strong increase in students’ understanding of the “Role of Citizen,” from the pre-survey responses: many even increased from a “Zero degree” of understanding to a “Fairly High Degree” of understanding when it came to continuing service within the STEM community.

This project and partnership with CREW opened the door for this instructor to build and maintain additional reciprocal partnerships with local, environmental non-profit organizations located along this Watershed, many which include educational centers. This network of partners allows his students in Environmental Science and Ecosystems of Southwest Florida courses to investigate the urbanization of coastal watersheds and actively engage with the public on science and technology-related issues. By collaborating with each agency to co-develop hands-on service-learning experiences, enriched active learning is occurring in the classroom, and specific community needs are being identified and met. Some additional examples of students’ engaged scholarly products that have resulted from this grant and these courses include Geographic Information System (GIS) trail maps, Tree Monitoring, QR code
Interpretive Trails, and Botany Mapping. These projects allow students to be producers of web-based content that relates to education and ecological perspective. These student projects are then shared with the regional, non-profit agencies, their science education centers, and the community at-large to support community needs. For example, thousands of visitors to these environmental sites are educated about the surrounding flora, fauna, and other geographic details surrounding the Watershed through the QR codes displayed within each property.

Bonita Nature Place, a local nature center, located along the Watershed, that promotes conservation and environmental stewardship through education, has been the recipient of many of these hands-on, course-based, service-learning projects. Fourteen students in the 2012-2013 academic year dedicated 97 hours of service to this agency. This site was also included as a strategic partner in FGCU’s Make A Difference Day, Day of Service, sponsored by a grant with Wells Fargo, procured through the FGCU Foundation. Many of these environmental agencies along the Watershed were also a part of an Environmentally Focused Campus-Community Dialogue sponsored by FGCU’s Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement to build and strengthen partnerships between FGCU faculty, students, and community partners.

Learn more at http://www.fgcu.edu/General_Education/files/SENCER_Journal_Manuscript_DGreen.pdf

Big Cypress Watershed Restoration Project: A partnership between many organizations.
Learn the details of this project by visiting these links: http://www.fgcu.edu/bcw/minutes/BCW-RCT%20Annual%20Report%202009-2010%20with%20Minutes.pdf and http://www.fgcu.edu/bcw/

+ Date Revised: Sept. 25, 2014

A brief description of the institution’s sustainability partnerships with distant (i.e. non-local) communities:

The website URL where information about sustainability partnerships is available:

Campus community members, offices, departments, divisions, and centers at Florida Gulf Coast have many supportive, collaborate, and transformative partnerships that cannot be tracked at this time. This section of our STARS report highlights many partnerships at FGCU that are accomplished through or monitored by the Office of Service Learning and the Department of Colloquium.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.