Central College News

Central College awarded grants from Pella Community Foundation

March 7, 2014
Left to right: Junior Jordan Strumpfer, associate professor of biology Anya Butt, grant proposal writer Valerie Van Kooten, foundation board member and 1964 Central College alumna Ardith Sutphen, associate professor of music Mark Babcock and junior Rachel Frana

Left to right: Junior Jordan Strumpfer, associate professor of biology Anya Butt, grant proposal writer Valerie Van Kooten, foundation board member and 1964 Central College alumna Ardith Sutphen, associate professor of music Mark Babcock and junior Rachel Frana

Central College received a combined $3,700 in grants from the Pella Community Foundation to increase sustainability efforts as well as create a summer community choir.

Foundation board member and 1964 Central College alumna, Ardith Sutphen, presented the grants to grant proposal writer Valerie Van Kooten, associate professor of biology Anya Butt and associate professor of Music Mark Babcock. Central juniors Rachel Frana and Jordan Strumpfer were also present as student representatives.

The Pella Community Foundation granted $2,000 to the biology department for an online geospatial presence proposal and $1,700 to the music department for a summer community chorus proposal.

Frana and Strumpfer, environmental studies majors, were asked to propose a way to increase sustainability on Central’s campus or within the local community as part of a junior seminar class. After taking an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) class, they were interested in the many applications that GIS offers.

To perform a GIS analysis on Central’s campus, the biology department needed an advanced GPS unit.

“Over winter break, we were informed that our grant had been accepted for the full amount to purchase a GPS,” said Frana. “We were thrilled!”

The two students plan to purchase the GPS to build a base map of Central College. Using this base map, they will be able to perform a variety of analyses, ranging from environmental to economic. The studies could benefit student safety, facilities efficiency, campus energy costs and environmental sustainability.

“The opportunities from this Central base map are endless, and it couldn’t have been possible without the Pella Community Foundation grant,” said Frana. “We are incredibly grateful for the money we received.”

Babcock and instructor of voice Sarah Van Waardhuizen worked with Van Kooten to write a grant proposal for the Central College Summer Community Choir open to vocalists from eighth grade to adults. Central students and faculty are encouraged to join in the community choir with Pella residents, as well as people from the surrounding communities.

“This inter-generational choral experience is an exciting way for Central College and Pella to make music together,” said Van Waardhuizen. “It will be a great way for students to meet and network with people from the community, and residents will be able to meet the fabulous young adults from Central.”

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