In recognition of its engagement and scholarship initiatives, East Carolina University is one of four universities selected to compete for a national award this fall.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities announced Monday the selection of ECU as a regional winner of the 2017 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities.
As a regional winner, ECU will compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced during the APLU’s annual meeting Nov. 12-14 in Washington, D.C. Other regional winners are the University of New Hampshire, Oklahoma State University and Purdue University.
ECU has been recognized for its MATCH Wellness program, an interdisciplinary, community-university partnership created a decade ago to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Since 2007, the MATCH Wellness partnership has grown from one middle school teacher and one ECU faculty member to include faculty and students from the ECU Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center and public school staff from 15 communities at 35 public schools across three states. Since inception, nearly 13,000 students have participated in the MATCH curriculum, preventing an estimated 1,300 cases of adult obesity.
Dr. Sharon Paynter, assistant vice chancellor for public service and community relations, said she was pleased to learn of the national recognition for MATCH Wellness partnership.
“The MATCH-ECU partnership is exemplary for many reasons, most importantly for the impact it has on helping adolescents establish healthy habits that last a lifetime. It is a great honor for East Carolina University to be selected as the 2017 W.K. Kellogg winner for the Southern Region,” she said.
MATCH landed the university in the national finals for the Magrath Award last year, as well. ECU won the Magrath Award in 2012 for its work with the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center in west Greenville.
The 2017 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. Regional winners will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.
Since 2007, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have honored the engagement, scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005.
The community engagement awards also include a class of exemplary designees. In addition to the regional winners, the five exemplary designees are recognized for their outstanding efforts. Those institutions — Michigan State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Louisville, and the University of South Carolina — will be showcased at the 2017 Engagement Scholarship Consortium’s annual conference in September.
“This year’s Magrath Awards have demonstrated exceptional cultural, civic and economic contributions to their communities, states and regions,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “They’re tackling some of the most urgent challenges facing our country by elevating the importance of student and faculty service, deepening connections to their communities, and reorienting their engagement work to ensure it employs a comprehensive approach that address every angle of these challenges.”
A team of community engagement professionals judged this round of the award. A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2017 National Engagement Scholarship Conference in September.
To learn more about the MATCH Wellness program, visit https://www.matchwellness.org/.
-by ECU News Services