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Armen Awards call for entries

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Entry deadline for the third annual Armen Awards is set for Friday. All entries must be presented and approved by Michael Schavey. Schavey is associate director of the Department of Experiential Learning at Grand Rapids Community College and is directing the awards this year.

The Armen Awards is an innovation-based competition at GRCC aimed to get students involved in the community.  Armen Oumedian is funding the project; he is a GRCC alumni and donor.

“What we want to do is combine the principles of innovation with service learning,”  Schavey said. “Service learning is essentially a volunteer experience that is part of what you are learning in your classes.”

This year, teams should consist of at least one faculty, one community partner and up to three GRCC students.  The goal is to find a service learning project that would benefit the community.  Schavey explained that the teams will be judged on originality, feasibility, and achievement.  An awards ceremony will be held April 26 to announce the top three finalists.  First prize will receive $3,000, second prize $1,000 and  3rd prize team $750.

Dr. Kate Byerwalter, professor of developmental psychology at GRCC, is one of the faculty members participating in the Armen Awards.

“I have been doing academic service learning in my courses for several years now,” Byerwalter said. “Submitting a proposal for the Armen Awards was a natural progression of the work I already do.  Three students from the Honors program have joined me, and are excited to act as leaders overseeing our service learning project next semester.”

Byerwalter’s team will be working with Family Promise, an agency that serves families in financial crisis.  Their project will revolve around raising money for that community organization.  She sees service learning as a ‘win-win’ for all of the participants.

“Students get the opportunity to see how the concepts they learn in class are evident in the real world,” she said. “The community partner has the opportunity to express what needs they have in the organization and have students meet those needs through their volunteer work.”

Schavey hopes to have as many people involved as possible.  If you have interest in the Armen Awards or would like to submit a proposal email Schavey at mschavey@grcc.edu or call 616-234-4180.

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