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Service Learning Showcase on display at Visual Arts Building grand opening April 30
By Javier Espinoza, Intern
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 04/22/2013
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Ivan Barrera, political science major and president of Kappa Sigma and Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society at The University of Texas-Pan American, is not a bike-riding enthusiast.


UTPA Image
A Service Learning Showcase will be held at the grand opening at 4 p.m., April 30 of UTPA’s newly renovated Visual Arts Building, located on S. Closner Blvd. in Edinburg. The University community and the public are invited to tour the facility, which includes the art gallery pictured, and view the 60 service learning projects that will be on display.
But his lack of love for riding didn’t stop him from leading his group recently to participate in the event “Bike to the Coast,” raising more than $5,000 for a cause close to his heart.

“All the money raised from the event benefits the Fisher House Foundation, which provides a home away from home for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization from an illness, disease or injury,” said Barrera, whose own father and other family members are former military members. “We had people donate because of their personal experience with this great foundation.”

Barrera will join members of the fraternity's local Kappa Epsilon Chapter and other students April 30, to display and talk about their community service work at the Service Learning Showcase to be held at the grand opening of UTPA’s newly renovated Visual Arts Building. The building, which is now home to the Department of Art's studio art and graphic design programs, is located at 2412 S. Closner Blvd. in Edinburg.

The event starts at 4 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by remarks by Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president, and other University administrators.

Tours of both the art facilities and the Service Learning Showcase will be conducted. Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to attend.


UTPA Image
On April 30, the public is invited to tour UTPA's renovated Visual Arts Building while also viewing a Service Learning Showcase with displays of 60 projects UTPA students have recently participated in and will share with visitors.
As part of their learning experience, UTPA faculty members often have their students engage with local organizations on volunteer community service projects tied to their coursework. At the showcase, there will be more than 60 displays representing more than 200 UTPA students' service learning activities in a variety of academic disciplines such as business, anthropology, sociology, nursing, English, science, psychology and others.

“What we try to provide with the service learning showcase is the opportunity for our students to exhibit and show the kind of work they have accomplished,” said Dr. Danika Brown, professor of English and faculty director for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Service Learning. “We linked both the Service Learning Showcase and the grand opening of the Department of Art facility because everything that goes on there is experiential learning and we see this facility as a symbol as to what we are trying to bring to the whole University in this engaged way of learning.”

Dr. Susan Fitzsimmons, Art Department chair and professor, sees an essential link in both the Service Learning Showcase and Visual Arts Building grand opening.

“I think it is really important for our students to see what other students in other studies are doing,” said Fitzsimmons. I’ve often had good experiences for our art students working with music students, for instance, because when they realize the level of discipline needed in order to achieve a certain standing within the field, it motivates them. I think it’s the same with service learning.”

For more information, contact Brown at (956) 665-3146 or Fitzsimmons at (956) 665-3481. To R.S.V.P. or for special accommodations, contact (956) 665-2100.