Fall 2014 Innovation Grants Results

To:                        The St. Lawrence Community
From:                    Innovation Grants Committee
Date:                     December 1, 2014
Subject:                 Fall 2014 Grant Results

Now in its fifth year, the Innovation Grants program has inspired so many wonderful programs on campus.  Take a moment, if you can, to review some of the past proposals as we celebrate the successful Fall 2014 proposals.

Appreciating St. Lawrence history, encouraging women’s empowerment, assisting students to prepare for graduate school exams, creating a safer climate for all students, and introducing new recreational table tennis options are the objectives of this Fall’s successful grant proposals.  The successful grants listed below all have the potential to offer transformative, positive change to campus life.  The committee members (Amy Hauber, Taylor Castator’154, Elaine White, Jeremy Freeman, and Lisa Cania) loved the variety of ideas in all proposals, and chose these four to have the optimum effect on campus. 

Have an idea for Spring?  The deadline for Spring proposals is Friday, March 13.

Enhancing Building Signage with Historical Signs
Paul Haggett, Greg Kreitzer and Mark Oakes

Over our institution's long history, among the most significant ways those who have influenced the development of St. Lawrence University have been remembered is by the naming of buildings and other spaces on campus.  Yet in many cases, signage for campus structures is not prominent, and surely does not place the name of the building in any historical context.  This project proposes to erect more prominent signage outside the main entrances of campus buildings and include an interpretive element to each sign that helps explain the importance of the building, its namesake, or both, in St. Lawrence history.

We propose to have signage created that is similar in design to the signage made for the new arboretum tour (also funded by an Innovation Grant).  Signs would be 13 x 19" in size...large enough to clearly label the building and include room for one or two paragraphs of descriptive text and perhaps a photographic image of the person the building is named for.  Research for the historical information presented on the signs would be carried out by two to three SLU students using the resources of the University Archives.

Fireside Chat Series
Beth Larrabee, Olivia Hatch’15, Emily Baldwin’16  

In an effort to increase awareness of women’s issues, the fireside chat series will provide multiple opportunities to educate and empower our young women to become confident, strong and vocal leaders within our workforce and communities. 

Through a series of intimate conversations, guided by women representing an array of industries and demographics, students will gain the wisdom of contemporary leaders to discuss topics including: the dynamics of women in the workforce, transitioning into the first job, social media branding, cultural stigmas that inhibit women from obtaining their goals, balancing work and family life, negotiation skills, and leadership.   We hope to inspire our young women to find their voice, pursue their true passions and achieve their full potential.

Graduate Exam Prep Initiative
Zhengjing Chu’17, Marsha Sawyer, Sharmela Garcia-Martin, Alan Lockard

Career Services Graduate Follow-Up Surveys indicate St. Lawrence University students are pursuing graduate degrees in business, health and medicine, social sciences, science and technology, and law. Competitive graduate programs require that students successfully complete graduate entrance exams, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT and MCAT. For many students, the cost of test preparation courses and test fees presents a barrier to preparing for, and in some cases, taking the exams. Currently, SLU offers no formal graduate test preparation for students; therefore, students would benefit from an initiative that not only helps them with exam preparation, but also provides an incentive to assist with the cost of exam fees. The G (Graduate School Exam Prep) Club is a recently established student group intended to provide free resources and space for students to prepare for graduate school entrance exams throughout the academic year. Members of the G Club propose to partner with members of the Academic Advising Team to provide students with access to current exam preparation materials, weekly review sessions in which they will improve test-taking skills through reviewing exam questions and taking practice exams, and opportunities to work with volunteer peer mentors with demonstrated exam-taking proficiency, and faculty and staff guest speakers.

The proposed project will provide incentives for student participants, including a test registration fee fund, allowing students to submit an application to have their exam fees covered, and a prize fund for those who attend all sessions and who achieve the highest scores on their respective exams.

PALS: Promoting Active Laurentian Safety
Jenny Hansen, Evelyn Jennings, Sara Trimm, Angelica Soto, Samantha Yee ‘15

A year-long collaboration among representatives from FYP, Advising, Residence Life, and International Student Services to develop a series of programs, trainings, and workshops designed primarily for incoming students. The goals of this collaboration are: 1) to redesign FY, transfer, and international orientation programming on preventing sexual assault and high-risk drinking, 2) to integrate that orientation programming into an ongoing series of events on personal responsibility and promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all Laurentians, 3) to develop a core of incoming students who are cultivating the skills and habits of responsible community membership to educate and lead their peers, 4) to coordinate with the many other groups and departments on campus who are working on these issues to enhance our overall approach to prevention and safety without duplicating effort.

In spring 2015 we will invite consultant Jamie Utt to campus for a visit that will include up to four workshops with targeted groups of students and community members on cultivating an ally culture on our campus. We expect his visit to help recruit students and develop ideas for programming best suited to SLU. We will meet regularly during spring 2015 to research models and best practices at other universities and coordinate PALS event dates with other related programming. Programming might include: OL and CA skits and discussion about difficult social situations and integrity; mediation, Ally and By-stander training. Students who successfully attend 80% of the events would earn the PALS certificate.

Table Tennis at St. Lawrence
M. Flip Filippi, Mike Alzo, Bob Durocher

Ping pong is a game with international appeal and high accessibility as a non-contact sport. It’s uncommon to find a sport in which age, gender and size are irrelevant competitive factors. This diverse campus offers a range of active athletic opportunities for the St. Lawrence community, but few bridge the student, employee divide or the gender divide. Table tennis can do all that and more! It could be a social gathering spot, but there is currently no space on campus with more than one table. This limits a dedicated group from organizing something more scheduled around the sport. There will be weekly times for all interested players to join each other and play a series of matches. Additionally, once a month there will be a, ‘Try Table Tennis!’ session to welcome new players with an encouraging lesson that includes overview of the rules and game play pointers.

The simple rules, short match times and ability to play in plain clothes make it excellent group fun. We look forward to the opportunity to offer consistent playing times for members of the St. Lawrence community in Newell Field House. Weekly matches will attract a core group of players and monthly introductory sessions will welcome new players to the sport. This will culminate in a campus-wide tournament in the springtime.