Baldwin grants to fund public engagement

June 5, 2013

by Greg Bump

Ten projects ranging from expanding higher learning opportunities for low-income residents of Madison to designing and constructing a biogas system in Uganda have been chosen as spring 2013 recipients of Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment grants.

The competitive grant program, open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students, is designed to foster public engagement and advance the Wisconsin Idea. 

The projects funded in the 2013 cycle include:

Acceptance Journeys: A social marketing campaign created through the collaborative efforts of community-based organization Diverse & Resilient, researchers at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, The City of Milwaukee Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, and the UW-Madison Population Health Service Fellowship. The campaign, launched in Milwaukee in 2011, focuses on the African-American community with the goal of decreasing HIV risk for gay men of color by addressing homophobia, a factor leading to increased HIV risk.

Building, Serving, Learning: Biogas in Uganda: A service-learning opportunity partners undergraduate and graduate students from Makerere University in Uganda with their counterparts at UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute to design and construct a biogas system at the Lweza Primary School in Uganda. The system will convert a mixture of latrine, food and animal wastes into a clean-burning source of cooking fuel and organic fertilizer. The system will provide 700 Ugandan children and 20 teachers with improved public hygiene and a reliable source of renewable energy while empowering Ugandan graduate and undergraduate students with applied environmental skills training from the UW.

Camp Badger for Teachers (CB4T): Recently announced Next Generation Science Standards, which include new efforts to bolster the understanding of engineering within STEM curriculum, have created a critical educational need for Wisconsin teachers. Building on a pilot program conducted in 2012, CB4T will provide fourth through ninth grade teachers an opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of engineering from local, practicing professionals and UW faculty, while exploring the best techniques for bringing this knowledge to the classroom.

Dostoevsky Behind Bars: An experiment that brings together graduate students from UW-Madison’s language, literature, and culture departments with inmates at Oakhill Correctional Institution. The inmates commit two hours an evening to talk about literature with the students, and share writing of their own. The endowment will enable the program to be opened to students in all humanities programs.

Engaging to Close the Gap: Community, University and School District:

Faculty and students from the School of Education collaborate with community and local government groups to address the community-identified academic and family involvement gaps related to the achievement gap in Madison schools.

Flambeau Community Growing Center: The project will construct a greenhouse to serve as a community-growing center and backbone for a wellness program in Park Falls, Wis. UW–Madison, working in conjunction with Flambeau River Papers, will provide leadership in selection and development of sustainable crops and outreach programs to local schools and the community.

Latino Earth Partnership (Colaboración Ambiental): The project will build capacity and “grow” the next generation of stewards so Latino youth find strength in their cultural heritage and are inspired to explore STEM careers. Collaborators include the Nelson Institute, Centro Hispano and Latino-serving schools and organizations to integrate Earth Partnership place-based curricula and resources with neighborhood programs.

Math Research Experience for High School Girls: A program pairing Madison-area high school girls with graduate student mentors. They meet each week and work together on projects in small groups under the guidance of faculty members. The goal is to teach students mathematics and applications to science beyond their knowledge from high school and give them a sense of what it is like to do research in math and science.

Nutrition, Environment and Food Systems in Ethiopia (NEFSE): To help Ethiopian youth develop the skills and tools to create innovative solutions to their communities' challenges, UW-Madison will partner with the International Potato Center, Hawassa University, and local NGOs to develop youth leadership programs in southern Ethiopia. The NEFSE Youth Leadership Institute will incorporate elements of existing curricula, making adaptations to the Ethiopian context, and developing modules in thematic areas prioritized by local stakeholders.

UW Odyssey: New Services for College Success: The UW Odyssey Project helps adults near the poverty level overcome adversity and achieve dreams through higher education. Each year, Odyssey admits 30 low-income adults to earn college credit through a two-semester humanities course taught at the Goodman South Madison Public Library. The grant will allow for an expansion of services. Working with partners from the UW’s Adult Career and Special Student Services and Madison College’s Admissions Advising Center, the project will offer a series of workshops devoted to career assessment and planning, academic success skills and advising, and seeking funds for college, as well as offer appointments with career and academic counselors to design individual career and study plans.