The Center for Academic Engagement at The University of South Dakota announced that Brittany VanHove and Donielle Gustafson have joined the staff as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
The federal Corporation for National and Community Service's AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program assists with the advancement and implementation of USD's mission to connect students with their community through various academic programs. Through these venues, VanHove and Gustafson will further the VISTA mission of addressing poverty and other community concerns.
VanHove, a native of Marion, and a 2008 graduate of USD, recently concluded service as an AmeriCorps member with City of Lakes AmeriCorps where she worked with disadvantaged children and families in Minneapolis, MN. Gustafson, from Pierre, graduated from USD in May and, as a student, was very active in the Center's AWOL (Alternative Week of Off Campus Learning) program.
VanHove and Gustafson are provided to the university through a grant from the Midwest Consortium for Service-Learning in Higher Education. The Consortium, a group of more than 25 institutions of higher education in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, supports the development of academic and co-curricular service-learning programs in their institutions with their communities. USD has been an active member of the Consortium since 2002, frequently acting as a formal mentor to other institutions in their service-learning programs.
USD's partnership with the federal Corporation for National and Community Service has been successful in connecting students with their communities. Since 2003, students in USD's innovative undergraduate graduation requirement, the IdEA Program, have contributed more than 65,000 hours of community support to agencies in their hometowns, Vermillion 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 by USD to prepare students to be critical thinkers, leaders, lifelong learners and productive citizens in an increasingly diverse world.