Story posted April 07, 2010
Elaine Tsai '10, Kat Flaherty '11 and Craig McEwen, Daniel B. Fayerweather Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, and McKeen Center for the Common Good senior faculty fellow, have been chosen to receive Maine Campus Compact awards.
Maine Campus Compact (MCC) is a consortium of 18 higher education institutions dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement and service learning in higher education.
Heart and Soul Award Winner Elaine Tsai '10
Tsai has been given the Student Heart and Soul Award, which each year recognizes the accomplishments of up to four Maine students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership both on campus and within their community.
On an Alternative Spring Break trip, coordinated through the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, Tsai, of Flushing, N.Y., traveled with a group of students to Ibarra, Ecuador, to help build a playground for children at a school in La Merced. More about the ASB trip to Ecuador here.
While an intern at the Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute, Tsai produced a literature review on workplace education for the Maine Employer's Initiative, which she presented to the advisory board.
Check out the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good Web site, offering continuously updated content regarding community service opportunities, a schedule of events and other happenings.
She also helped update the "Indicators of Higher Education Attainment in Maine" report for 2009 and began the research process for the latest iteration of the Institute's Barriers Report, which examines the obstacles to college facing Maine students and their families.
MCC cites Tsai's work volunteering with the Midcoast CASH Coalition to assist with tax preparation. The coalition is a collection of 17 community agencies and local businesses that recruit and train volunteers to help low- and moderate-income individuals and families file their taxes.
"When she saw there was a shortage of volunteer tax preparers, she formed a club at Bowdoin so that she could recruit students and help coordinate their training and service for the upcoming tax season," says Maine Campus Compact Executive Director Liz McCabe Park.
"She and her co-leaders recruited about 20 Bowdoin students. Last year they served about 300 individuals and families bringing in $306,000 in tax refunds back to the local economy. By creating this club on campus and getting underclassmen to invest their talents, Elaine has helped to assure a long-term sustainable partnership between Midcoast CASH and Bowdoin."
In being selected for the state award, Tsai becomes a finalist for the Howard Swearer Student Humanitarian Award, presented by the National Campus Compact.
Donald Harward Faculty Award Winner Craig McEwen
Daniel B. Fayerweather Professor of Political Economy and Sociology, and Senior Faculty Fellow in the McKeen Center for the Common Good Craig McEwen has received MCC's 2010 Donald Harward Faculty Award for Service-Learning Excellence.
This award recognizes the accomplishments of three Maine faculty members in making public service an integral part of their curricula, in forging strong, reciprocal community partnerships and in advocating for service-learning.
In announcing the award, Park cited McEwen's dedication to engaging the public in his professional and personal life going back to the beginning of his teacher in career in 1968.
"Within the Brunswick community his students have produced reports for the Brunswick Housing Authority, Oasis Health Network, Tedford and Mid Coast Hunger Prevention," Park says.
"Nationally, his students have prepared a summary for the annual report of the Maine Association of Public Housing Directors to the Maine Congressional delegation."
"Over time, the reciprocity I have been able to foster with community partners has afforded the opportunity to build upon previous research projects, contributing both to the greater impact in the community and to students' sense of playing a key part in a larger enterprise," McEwen says.
As Dean for Academic Affairs, McEwen and Dean Craig Bradley broadened Bowdoin's support of service learning by defining and helping to create the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good, which opened in 2008. He is also a member of the Mid Coast Maine United Way Board of Directors and a National Campus Compact Consultant.
Pillars Award Winner Kat Flaherty '11
Kat Flaherty '11, of Fairfield, Conn., who was nominated for the Heart and Soul award, receives the MCC Pillars award.
Flaherty has volunteered regularly at Tedford Housing's adult shelter and the Brunswick Teen Center; she has also served as a mentor at Bowdoinham Community School.
Flaherty has balanced her community service with playing on the varsity soccer team and last year served as vice-president of Baxter House.
In her nomination letter, McKeen Center Assistant Director for Service and Leadership Sarah Seames called Flaherty "one of those students who just wants to learn and give."
"She seeks to use her skills and energy to benefit those in need — in any way that she can," added Seames.
The awards were presented April 7, 2010, at the Maine State Museum in Augusta.