International Service Begins Here - Indiana University

INTERNATIONAL SERVICE BEGINS HERE

Indiana University’s Service Program for the

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

Like most Americans, students, faculty, and staff of Indiana University have many views about September 11, 2001, and the events that followed.   But we agree that the attacks ten years ago provided a stark reminder that the United States was part of increasingly entwined world which it could ignore only at great peril and that as a country and as individuals, we have to be internationally-minded not only to safeguard
peace, but also to foster prosperity for us and other nations.

This judgment underlies the activities Indiana University will undertake to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11.   An important component will be launching a major effort to engage the international resources of Indiana University to provide a wide range of services in our community.

Background

Despite its location in southern Indiana, Indiana University has – for over five decades – invested substantial resources in developing its international programs. It now has the reputation of being one of the leading institutions in the United States for global education.

Last fall, nearly 7000 international students were enrolled on Indiana University’s campuses.  The Institute of International Education (IIE) ranked its main campus in
Bloomington, Indiana (IUB), 14th (out of more than 3000 higher education institutions in the United States) in hosting these students.  Since 2001, the number of international students at IUB has grown more than twice as rapidly as the number nationally. 

The number of students studying abroad has also been growing.  IIE ranks IUB 11th among U. S. institutions in 2008-09 in this category. While Western Europe remained a popular destination for many, increasing numbers went to East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.  In 2010, 25.4% of IUB’s  graduating class had had an international experience, a proportion university president Michael A. McRobbie is seeking to increase.   IUB is also consistently one of the top schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers and has many returnees among its students.

Nearly 20 percent of the tenured IUB faculty – and 37 percent of non-tenured -- were born abroad. Together with a sizable (but uncounted) number of American-born faculty
with international experience, they offer courses in a wide range of subjects,
including 82 languages.  In addition, IUB sponsors nine Title VI National Resource Centers for regional and global study and language-training, as well as a range of other institutes and research groups with international foci.  It also has over 200 agreements with leading academic institutions throughout the world and hosted over 1200 international scholars for visits during 2008-09.

In short, the international resources at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus are sizable – and expanding.

Service Program

Important as these resources are for the university, the benefits of IUB’s international activities have not been fully realized by the community in which it is located (defined for this purpose, as Monroe County and adjacent areas of Southern Indiana).  International students and visitors contribute a substantial amount to the local economy.   The area’s cultural life is also greatly enriched by their presence.  But relatively little of the expertise they possess is used in addressing a wide range of community needs.

The goal of Indiana University’s application for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 challenge grant is to change that.

Utilizing its foreign-born and American students and faculty with international experience, IUB intends to create an ongoing effort to identify and provide community services in which linguistic or other kinds of international expertise is necessary.  
These might include:

    - Enhancing language training and translation capacity, both in schools and other
organizations

    - Assisting health and social service agencies serving clients with limited English skills and different cultural understandings

    - Facilitating integration in the local community, such as by helping with immigration, financial, and legal issues

    - Increasing the range of local programs in the arts, recreation, and similar areas to improve cultural expression and understanding. 

In recent years, Southern Indiana has seen significant growth in its foreign-born residents, which has put considerable strain on its public and nonprofit agencies.   By mobilizing Indiana University’s international resources to help meet the needs of this group (as well as of American-born residents to know more about the world), this project seeks to embody the spirit of 9/11 with service aimed at developing greater community capacity to deal with global cultures and concerns.

Operation

The program will be run in conjunction with Indiana University’s extensive civic engagement and community service programs, which have received recognition from the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service, as well as with the Indiana University Student Association, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and other student groups.  In addition, approximately 50 student
organizations with international foci exist on the IUB campus (many involving
students from particular regions or countries) and will be a major vehicle through
which international students can be mobilized.  The Volunteer Network of the City of
Bloomington has agreed to collaborate and we expect additional partnerships
with the United Way of Monroe Country, Volunteers in Medicine, area school
corporations and other local groups.

Utilizing an existing AmeriCorps program to increase civic engagement on campus, the Office of the Provost will direct this program.  IUB will utilize an online system, “My Involvement,” (https://myinvolvement.indiana.edu/Community?action=getMyHome),
to keep track of student service hours, although campus groups sponsoring projects will also be expected to keep records of participation.  We will commission participant surveys, especially among international students, for whom this program should make
their educational experience in the United States more meaningful.

During a two-week series of activities commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, IU will launch this program.   Initial activities will consist of publicizing it and identifying needs and partnering organizations.  Placement of an estimated 1,000 volunteers will occur as projects for them are developed. We expect the program to be fully operational no later than the spring of 2012 and will use the anniversaries of 9/11 in 2012-14 to continue publicizing it, broadening the scope of its activities, and recruiting additional volunteers.