USD Center for Academic Engagement adds Christina Schantz Christina Shantz has joined The University of South Dakotaâ�?�?s Center for Academic Engagement. Shantz is part of the federal Corporation for National and Community Serviceâ�?�?s AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program and while working in Vermillion, she will assist with the advancement and implementation of USDâ�?�?s mission to connect students with their community through various academic programs. Through these venues, Shantz will further the VISTA mission of addressing concerns of those in poverty and other challenged communities. Shantz graduated from St. Michaelâ�?�?s College in Colchester, VT, with a bachelorâ�?�?s degree in theatre and psychology. She will organize service-learning events for students to address needs in Vermillion and surrounding communities, and assist community organizations by connecting them with campus resources. â�?�?Tinaâ�?�?s experiences working with the community, whether itâ�?�?s as an organizer for various fundraisers or as a member of a theatre company, are significant,â�? said Sarah Hirsch Wittmuss, director of the Center for Academic Engagement. â�?�?We look forward to her helping build relationships between the campus and the larger community to everyoneâ�?�?s mutual benefit.â�?�? The Universityâ�?�?s partnership with the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service has been successful in connecting students with the communities around them. Since July 2003, students in the Universityâ�?�?s innovative undergraduate graduation requirement, the IdEA Program, have contributed more than 45,000 hours of community support to agencies in Vermillion, in studentsâ�?�? hometowns and in other states. Students working in various academic disciplines have also launched several successful service-learning activities. This work is part of the commitment from USD to prepare students to be critical thinkers, leaders, lifelong learners and productive citizens in an increasingly diverse world.