February 02, 2007

Mini-grants bring students, seniors together

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Mini-grants awarded to university journalism programs and community colleges across Illinois will help fuel greater involvement of retirees in education.

The Center for Intergenerational Leadership, part of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Office of the Associate Chancellor for Diversity, awarded the grants to support a variety of projects involving students and retirees.

The center promotes greater involvement of retirees in education as tutors and mentors and brings student and retiree leaders together to tackle community problems.

Here is a look at the grants to journalism programs:

• SIUC School of Journalism, $1,000: A class of 20 students, team-taught by four professors, plans to tell the story of Cairo in the context of how the community can move forward. Some of the stories planned by students will focus on older residents, including an extended family that has lived in Cairo for three generations discussing why they love the community.

• SIU Edwardsville Department of Mass Communications, $1,000: Nineteen students in a feature writing class will write stories about Vietnam veterans living in Southern Illinois, chronicling the veterans' duty in Vietnam and how that service affected their lives.

• Illinois State University School of Communication's Journalism Program, $500: This project will document the level of coverage of local, state and nationwide intergenerational issues by the university's weekday newspaper, The Daily Vidette.

• Western Illinois University Journalism Program, $800: A package that includes stories, fact boxes and photos will explore the "role reversal" that can take place when older "life learners," or non-traditional students who are retired or near retirement, return to school, particularly at four-year colleges. The focus will be on 16 west-central Illinois counties and six institutions of higher learning: Western, Quincy University, Knox College, Blackhawk College, Augustana College and Monmouth College.

Here is a look at the community college projects, designed to build campus plans for involving retirees:

• Black Hawk College in Moline will use a $1,000 mini-grant to bring retirees together with students to compare TV commercials from the 1950s-60s with those from the 1990s and today. Retirees will include the campus' annuitants association, the Martin Luther King Senior Volunteers and United Auto Workers retirees. Psychology and sociology students will participate in the intergenerational discussions that will compare societal norms reflected in the commercials.

• Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Olney Central College in Olney and Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, all members of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges district, will use a $650 mini-grant to bring retired business leaders from southeastern Illinois together with students to discuss careers and conduct mock job interviews.

• Joliet Junior College will use a $1,000 mini-grant to bring students and retirees together for lunch, followed by tutoring pre-school children at a campus facility. The partnership includes Will County Senior Services.

• A $2,000 mini-grant will assist Kankakee Community College in bringing retirees and students together for discussions after lectures about "The Last Bombers Over Japan," "Our Own Antiques Road Show" and "Genealogy." The campus also houses an Area Agency on Aging and the event will also include the local chapter of Service Corps of Retired Executives and the campus' annuitants association.

• Spoon River College in Canton will use a $1,000 mini-grant to partner with a local alternative school to include the students in planning intergenerational events with the campus' annuitants association and members of the Retirees Leading Initiative. The planning process also will include college and high school students.

• Using a $2,000 mini-grant, Triton College in River Grove will pull together various departments that serve older adults to create a more efficient approach to involving retirees on campus and in the community.

For more information on mini-grants or the Center for Intergenerational Leadership, contact Director Jane Angelis, 618/453-1186.