The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) presented Oklahoma State University the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship, the organization’s national community engagement award for 2017. The College of Human Sciences leads OSU’s community engagement efforts and the prestigious honor recognizes a health collaborative between the college’s Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Chickasaw Nation.
The Magrath honor recognizes how colleges have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. OSU received a $20,000 prize and sculpture to commemorate the honor.
College of Human Sciences Associate Dean for Extension and Community Engagement Jorge Atiles leads the OSU’s University Network on Community Engagement (UNCE).
“Since 2013 we have been actively submitting projects for this competition and it brings great satisfaction to University Network on Community Engagement members to have been finally selected for this prestigious national award,” Atiles said. “None of this would have happened without the great relationship that faculty, staff and students maintain with communities around the state, and in this case, with the Chickasaw Nation. Together we make a difference for the people of Oklahoma.”
The Magrath award honors the SHINE project (Solutions-based Health Innovations and Nutrition Excellence, Partners in Indian Country). The work of SHINE was a subcontract of the Chickasaw Nation Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). The partnership paired OSU’s institutional resources and scientific expertise in nutritional sciences with the Chickasaw Nation’s deep knowledge of history, culture, and current health challenges. The health collaborative included the Eagle Adventure program for children in the first through third grades and embraced the Native American tribe’s storytelling tradition to educate participants on practices that prevent Type 2 diabetes through dietary and physical activity.
More than 7,000 students and their families in more than 40 local schools have participated in the Eagle Adventure program. A recent survey showed 67 percent of the parents whose children are involved in the program, report that it has helped their youngsters be more active after school, eat more vegetables at dinner (49 percent), and reach more often for fruits as snacks (55 percent).
“Children who participated are becoming health leaders and change agents in their families,” nutritional sciences professor Janice Hermann said. “They are becoming excited about eating fruits and vegetables and being physically active.”
Hermann continues to partner with the Chickasaw Nation to support their efforts.
After winning the 2017 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship in July 2017, the initiative was chosen for national recognition by a team of community engagement professionals over the other three regional winners, Purdue University, East Carolina University and the University of New Hampshire.
“This is a wonderful honor and exciting national recognition of Oklahoma State’s health initiative with the Chickasaw Nation,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “It’s a humbling acknowledgement of our founding commitment to serve and engage in our communities. I want to thank and congratulate the many OSU employees and students who carry out our land-grant mission in countless ways.”
Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award funds will be used to expand and strengthen programs, activities, and training events that enhance OSU’s partnerships with the sovereign tribal nations and other communities.
APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.9 billion in university-based research.