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Feb. 28, 2001
 
SUNY OSWEGO TO BE CENTER
FOR SERVICE LEARNING
OSWEGO -- Beginning this spring, SUNY Oswego will be one of seven colleges nationwide designated as a Regional Service Learning Dissemination Center in Gerontology.
This is a product of the efforts of Dr. Paul Roodin, director of experience-based education, who was recently awarded an $8,000 joint grant from the National Corporation for Service and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education to promote the integration of academic involvement with the elderly population.
Roodin has been working on this idea for about three years and has accrued about $30,000 in grants to begin the only learning center of its type in the Northeast. Roodin will also be mentoring faculty in the Atlantic region that have an interest in gerontology and service learning.
"The grant will endorse my working with faculty and administrators who are interested in developing or expanding service learning in gerontology on their campus," he said. "It will also permit those who I train to themselves become mentors and disseminate the message of service learning with the elderly."
He received a $2,000 grant last year to serve as a mentor to faculty at three institutions that were developing service learning in gerontology classes -- the University of Iowa, the University of South Alabama and George Mason University.
Roodin cited courses offered at SUNY Oswego that include a focus on the issue of aging and said that by expanding this focus through service learning, students will "gain a further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility."
According to Roodin, a hypothetical scenario would be an education major visiting a nursing home to enhance a patient's reading or math skills, an example that's relatively realistic based on Oswego's elderly population.
"What's our unique concern in Oswego? It's the snow!" Roodin said. "Families have a difficult time getting to them (elderly people). They don't have visitors. Our students will provide a little ray of sunshine once or twice a week."
Roodin said an underlying goal of the integration is to "train students to take action and be responsible, because one of the hallmarks of our democracy is social participation."
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CONTACT: Paul Roodin, Experience Based Education, 312-2151

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