Thursday, May 4, the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) held a “Service Learning Appreciation Luncheon” in the UHD O’Kane Gallery.
More than 50 people attended the luncheon. Michael A. Olivas, UHD interim president, delivered a warm welcome, and Faiza Khoja, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, provided an overview. Led by Poonam Gulati Salhotra, Ph.D., CCESL interim director, the program included roundtable discussions on service learning, discussion summary reports and a presentation of awards and certificates to community partners and students.
“The luncheon brought together UHD instructors and community partners who exchanged ideas on student engagement and learning in the community,” said Gulati. “Everyone enjoyed lunch and shared creative thoughts in the elegant O’Kane Gallery venue.”
In a new initiative, the CCESL awarded $2,000 grants to students to lead community engagement projects in the summer and/or the fall semesters. Two proposals were selected for funding from a pool of excellent proposals. The first grant was awarded to Eisha Khan, who was mentored by Mari Nicholson-Preuss, Ph.D., director of the UHD University Honors Program. Khan’s project, “Around the World Series,” focuses on a variety of cultures. The first event is planned for Thursday, Sept. 15, and will highlight the Israeli culture.
The second grant was awarded to students Milimar and Abigail Murillo for their “Cosplay for Kids” project. The Murillo siblings were mentored by Julie Norton, UHD executive director of strategic partnerships. The goal of this project is to hold costume play events that entertain sick children in neighborhood clinics.