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Press Release



September 22, 2012


ACES logs record number of service learning hours


With more than 2,000 Cowley College students working on service learning projects during the 2011-2012 academic year, the school’s ACES organization logged a record 17,315 service learning hours.

“We had a wonderful year, a lot of things came together to make it all happen,” James Fry, coordinator of ACES program said. “The service learning aspect on Angel helped us to get a really accurate count on the number of hours logged by our online students. I would give Julie Rhoads and Eddie Andreo a lot of credit for setting that system up.”

In the program’s face-to-face classes, they went back to using paper to log hours. Also, last year, there was a tremendous buy-in from the school’s adjunct instructors.

“I really believe that helped a lot, and they deserve some of the credit,” Fry said.

Fry believes students in ACES had more opportunities to serve, including the chance to go to Joplin, MO and help with the cleanup efforts after the deadly tornado, as well as conduct a food drive.

“Both of these allowed for large numbers of people to volunteer as a group,” Fry said. “We partnered several times with other clubs on campus for projects which is always good.”

The ACES organization has remained busy and has been out almost every weekend providing projects for students to do. The group has the SWIPE Out Hunger Numana Food Packaging Event coming up and will also be partnering with the KNEA Club to put on the clothing drive. The organization also hopes to work with Cowley’s Activity Awareness Team on their C.A.A.T. in the Box project as well.

ACES have also received calls from Joplin asking them to come back and work.

“The second trip we took to Joplin last year partnered us with over 1,200 students from six colleges to do clean-up,” Fry said.

ACES hopes to be involved with some of their long time favorite organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Manna Ministries, Salvation Army, local schools and local food banks and ministry meals. They would also like to work more with senior citizens than in years past.
“Our program has a very wide range of who we serve,” Fry said. “Last year, we e-mailed back and forth to work with online students from Florida, Utah, Texas, and even Spain.”
Fry has been involved with the ACES program since it was originally called VOLTS. After 15 years with the program he still has many goals he hopes to see the group accomplish.
“While I feel number of hours is great, I think it is what we achieve and what we learn while we are out there that are the real difference makers,” Fry said. “We want to make our students citizens in the community. We hope they take what they learn in the community back into the classroom with them, along with bringing what they have learned in the classroom out into the community while they serve. Let’s face it; these students are the next leaders of this country. If they never go out and get their hands dirty, they may never know what the real problems are. I think this is a big part of the purpose of our program.”
Fry is proud of what students in the program have done and feels fortunate to be able to see them learn about life through their service learning projects.
“I love to see the look on their face when they catch on to what we are trying to teach them,” Fry said. “For the ones who really enjoy it, I think their service comes from their heart. The demand for what we do far outweighs the solutions we can provide. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everyone’s project, but I think across the board our program can stand with anyone’s.”