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Easton Mayor Sal Panto to speak; 20 groups will present their community-based learning projects; NYC filmmaker Shanti Thakur to present documentary

Twenty groups of Lafayette students and faculty who are working on academic courses and projects in communities ranging from Easton to New Orleans and Honduras will present their research and experiences from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, April 8 in Scott Hall. Groups will have posters and multimedia presentations explaining their projects and answer questions during the event. The public is invited to attend.Easton Mayor Sal Pantowill give opening remarks and address the students, their faculty mentors, and community partner organizations. Among the community groups with whom the students have worked are Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley to provide income tax assistance to local residents, Easton Area School District to mentor teenage and low-income single mothers and provide math tutoring to “at risk” students, the Housing Authority for the City of Easton to monitor the Easton HOPE VI Redevelopment Project, and the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership to map the urban ecology of the West Ward.

Several films produced in the documentary film class taught by Andy Smith, assistant professor of English, will also be shown. The topics of the films include the Sustainable Business Network of the Greater Lehigh Valley, the Easton Teen Center, local tattoo artists, local craft brewers, former heavyweight boxer Larry Holmes, and the Third Street Alliance.

The Community-Based Learning and Research (CBLR) Expo recognizes academic projects that have a service learning component. The combination of community service and academics “enhances both the learning experience and service experience,” says Rob Root, associate professor of mathematics, who teaches Mathematics of Social Justice, a First-Year Seminar, in which Lafayette students learn about social justice and tutor students at Easton Area Middle School in math.

The CBLR Expo will begin at noon with a presentation by Michelle E. Schmidt, associate professor and chair of psychology at Moravian College, who will share ideas for how to incorporate a service-learning experience in a college class. Her talk will be in room 104 of Scott Hall.

Later Thursday evening in conjunction with the expo will be a showing of the film Circles, about social justice and community healing among indigenous communities in Canada. New York City filmmaker Shanti Thakur will screen the movie and then discuss her documentary beginning at 7 p.m. in room 104 of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. It is open to the public free of charge. Circles in an inside look at sentencing circles, an alternative approach to sentencing offenders in the Yukon. By bringing together the perpetrator of crime, his or her victims, peers, and elders, sentencing circles focus on finding ways to heal the victim, community, and offender, instead of simply punishment.

The day’s events are sponsored by Lafayette’s Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship.

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