09:07 AM

Ohio State’s LiFEsports initiative a finalist for national engagement scholarship award

University’s youth development program named regional winner

The Ohio State University’s Learning in Fitness and Education through Sports (LiFEsports) program has been announced as the regional winner of the 2020 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.

The award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities recognizes extraordinary community engagement initiatives. LiFEsports is a partnership between the College of Social Work, Department of Athletics, Department of Recreational Sports and numerous other community and university partners to prepare youth, especially those from vulnerable circumstances, for life and leadership through sports.

“LiFEsports is a program that represents the best of Ohio State. It’s a data-driven community-based partnership that provides true benefits to members of our community,” said Ryan Schmiesing, vice provost for outreach and engagement. “We are excited to be a finalist for an award that recognizes the university’s commitment to engaged scholarship and our dedication to being a real partner with our community.”

Regional winners compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced in November. Other finalists for the award are the University of Memphis, the University of Utah and the University of Vermont. Ohio State previously won the Magrath Award with the Young Scholars Program in 2013.

More than 8,000 low-income youths between 6 and 18 years old have participated in the LiFEsports summer camps, year-round sports clinics and youth leadership academy. Annually, an average of 160 college students from more than 20 different majors and several universities complete internships, paid employment, research, classwork and volunteer experiences with the program.

Since 2007, 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 recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement missions to achieve broader impacts in their communities by deepening their partnerships.

“Amid the pandemic, the nation’s public universities have risen to the challenge to meet their communities’ needs in a major way,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “That community engagement is at the heart of their mission and we’re thrilled to elevate institutions that have a longstanding commitment to being at the forefront of community engagement efforts. We congratulate this year’s Magrath Award finalists and exemplary designees for a job extremely well done and for their ongoing work in support of their communities.”

The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005, and includes a sculpture and $20,000 prize. The three regional winners will each receive a cash prize of $5,000.

A team of community engagement professionals from public research universities judged this round of the award. A second team will pick the national winner following presentations at the 2020 National Engagement Scholarship Conference.

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