Building Better Communities fellows at Ball State help students, community

Project reach out to institutions, education, government, charity 

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - On the eve of Ball State graduation, Building Better Communities fellows showcased their work to improve the world around them.

From Ball State to Broadway, global reporting initiatives and even cold case crime solving matched Ball State students with real life settings to provide experience besides help to the communities they serve.

Kelli Huth, who directs BBC fellows, and project manager Matt Bailey offered a view of the best of fellow this week when more than a dozen projects were on display for the public.

Funded partially by the Lilly Endowment, BBC reaches out to business and charity, government and education with immersive learning projects, the hallmark of retiring President Jo Ann Gora's administration.

The global reporting initiative for the Indianapolis Airport Authority uncovered some interesting facts few travelers know when passing through the entrance to the new Midwest air hub.

Indianapolis boasts the largest solar farm in the Midwest that serves power needs of Indianapolis Power and Light.

Lucas Blair, among the student team that developed the report, said the study offered ways for the airport to be more sustainable after looking at environmental, economic and social impacts.

Reducing the environmental footprint of the air transportation site is the goal of the report that will be posted on the BBC's link with the Ball State website.

Students gained experience in global sustainability reporting besides improving communication skills. Accounting professor Gwen White oversaw the project.

 A traditional topic of police and the media was tackled by journalism students who embedded themselves with Ball State police to study of professional demands of law enforcement.

A sister topic involving criminal justice majors considered a number of cold case murders investigated by Muncie and area law enforcement.

Kaegan Stogsdill, a journalism student, talked about how the effort provided some stories about how students could connect with police and also address concerns about reporting crime, police brutality and overall public safety.

Many students still remember the police action shooting of a Ball State student more than a decade ago. And that man with a gun incident last fall causing a campus lockdown also illustrates the interaction and cooperation needed between students, law enforcement and the media.

Huth also pointed out other projects that included helping with a recreational site at St. Mary's Catholic Church, developing a social marketing strategy for The Little Red Door, and developing an iPhone app for gifted and special education students at Burris.

The BBC work is housed at Carmichael Hall, Telephone (765) 285-2773.


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