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Dingman Awards Students for Head, Hands, and Heart

Two groups of students have been awarded the Dingman Book award for synthesis of labor, learning, and service.

Members of the Clearfork Community Institute team from left to right : Melvin Cowan ‘06, Carolyn Mc

SENS House directors Kati Maginel, Megan Naseman, Jessica Fagan, Leslie Ferguson, Denise Won, and Jordan Rumsey were awarded for their outstanding accomplishments within and for the Ecovillage and community with the Dingman Book Award. Together the students designed and planted children’s’ teaching gardens for the new Child Development Laboratory (CDL), and developed complementary lessons plans with the CDL staff. The students also developed and operated a composting program for food waste and garden clippings of Ecovillage residents as well as an educational program to inform the residents of the process and benefits of composting, operated and monitored the Ecological Machine – the Ecovillage’s biological wastewater treatment system; reached out to Ecovillage residents, campus dormitories, town neighbors, and others through tours, workshops, and collaborative educational programs, initiated the Berea College Local Foods Initiative, a program to increase the use of locally-grown products including items produced by the College farm and gardens by food service, and designed and planted (through a series of public workshops) a permaculture food forest at the Ellipse Street end of the Ecovillage, and mentored Ecovillage residents wishing to start their own gardens. Each of the student workers had to master new material in order to implement these projects. The implementation of every project involved service to the campus and town communities, as the students taught others what they had learned.

Also being recognized with Dingman Book Awards are the students of Dr. Martie Kazura’s marketing research class. The class engaged in a collaborative research project to evaluate the level of customer service in the Log House Craft Sales House and Berea College Bookstore. "I have had very few classroom experiences where I could observe students applying their “book” leaning so effectively. The students could read chapters in the text and immediately apply them to make their project better," Professor Kazura exclaimed of her class.

The Dingman Book Award emphasizes the synthesis of learning, labor, and service. Helen Dingman, a former professor of Sociology at Berea College, established the college's opportunity school program that brought Appalachian people to campus for three weeks of learning, culture, and collaborative work. Dingman worked for the Presbyterian Home Missionary Board in Harlan County and the Southern Farmers' Tenant Union in Arkansas before coming to Berea. She also served as secretary of the Council of the Southern Mountains, an organization of teachers, missionaries and activists that served in Southern Appalachia and drew attention to the needs of the people from the area.

*Thanks to Jim Strand for contributing the information for this article.

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