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U.S. Senator John McCain (R. – Ariz.) visited the Clinton School on Friday for a session with students and a lecture on public service that drew more than 600 attendees.
In his speech, McCain reflected on the impact his public service career has had on his life.
“I think the most important thing for any public servant to understand is that no matter how prestigious or obscure your office or how long or briefly you serve or how much recognition you receive or don’t receive, you will end your service more indebted for the privilege than entitled to reward. You’ll have already received the greatest reward any of us can ever earn – your self-respect,” McCain said.
A Vietnam War veteran, McCain also took time to praise President Clinton for his efforts to initiate a normalized diplomatic relationship with the country in 1995. Doing so was not politically popular at the time, McCain said, but it was the right decision.
“If President Clinton had put his political interests before the country’s interests, the problem would have been left for another President to solve,” McCain said. “But he didn’t do that. He did the right thing. And the right thing is often the hard thing.”
McCain has led a distinguished career in public office, having first been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. Winner of the 2008 Republican nomination for president, McCain is currently serving his fifth term in the U.S. Senate.
Prior to his political career, McCain served 22 years in the U.S. Navy, including five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
McCain currently serves on the following Senate Committees during the 113th Congress: Armed Services Committee; Committee on Foreign Relations; Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Committee on Indian Affairs.
A Clinton School student partnered with a university-based multi-stakeholder initiative to develop indicators for measuring and reporting on the welfare of laboratory animals.
Clinton School student, Christine Sumner of Shreveport, La., collaborated with The Sustainability Consortium on a project to determine how animal welfare issues can be incorporated into research on product sustainability.
Sumner researched current animal welfare regulations, scientific and ethical literature, and progressive animal welfare practices in order to provide the Consortium with a foundation from which to build their welfare information. She focused on laboratory animal welfare since many of the Consortium members’ practices include product research and testing.
“Laboratory animal welfare is a complex topic in which we needed expertise,” said Dr. Christy Slay, research manager for the Consortium. “We were excited when Christine came to us with a strong background and understanding of lab animal issues. We will use her work to address animal welfare within the Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System.”
The Consortium has created the Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System (SMRS) to identify and communicate the key environmental and social issues associated with consumer products. Ultimately, this information will increase economic, environmental and social sustainability in consumer product supply chains.
The Sustainability Consortium, named one of Scientific American’s Top 10 World Changing Ideas for 2012, is a partnership between the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., and Arizona State University in Tempe, Az.
As a popular issue in the public domain, animal welfare is a fast growing area of interest for corporate sustainability reporting. Numerous sectors have included products where animal welfare concerns arise including agricultural products, chemical-based products, pharmaceuticals and forest-based products. (more…)
A team of graduate students will present research they hope will improve communication between persons with developmental disabilities and health providers in the state at the Health Disparities Conference on April 19 in Springdale, Ark.
Clinton School students Allie Rouse of Piggott, Ark., Katie Powell of Jacksonville, Fl., and Immaculee Kayitare of Rwanda, Africa, spent the last year surveying and interviewing developmental health providers nationwide, conducting focus groups with persons with developmental disabilities and facilitating community meetings in Arkansas.
The students studied the communication preferences of persons with developmental disabilities and how those preferences can be applied to the outreach practices of service providers across the nation.
The research was completed in conjunction with Partners for Inclusive Communities (Partners), a statewide University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education (UCEDD).
“This research is especially important for our work,” said Robin Lockhart, outreach director at Partners for Inclusive Communities. “We know many of our programs are not being fully utilized because individuals around the state are not hearing about them. In order to better serve our state, we need to be more aware of these communication preferences.” (more…)
Clinton School student Stephen Bailey helped Heifer International launch its new “Say Love” campaign to end poverty featuring Cody Belew, a native Arkansan and popular contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”
Bailey helped create the campaign and shot the music video associated with the song “Say Love,” by Belew. Here’s more from KTHV news. Watch the video up top.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – April 1 will see many people falling victim to one prank or another for “April Fool’s Day”, but Cody Belew, a contestant from NBC’s “The Voice,” is serious about hunger. Belew will release his new single, “Say Love,” on April 1 to benefit the work of Heifer International, a global nonprofit working to end hunger and poverty.
On “The Voice,” Belew was a fan favorite for his outgoing and magnetic performances, but it may come as a surprise to learn that he was raised on a family farm in Arkansas taking care of animals and the family’s land. Belew understands the importance of hard work and giving back to his community and vowed early on to use his voice-literally-to help others.
“I have dreamed of finding a tangible solution to hunger and its shadow over the world since I was a kid growing up in rural Arkansas,” Belew said. “I was always aware of Heifer, growing up near its headquarters, but when I began to study their mission as an adult, I realized that they have a tangible solution-a working model-already in place.”
A team of graduate students will make recommendations on reforming tax preparation services in Arkansas as a result of research regarding the utilization of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the state.
Clinton School students Kayla Brooks of Memphis, Tenn., John Delurey of Winchester, Mass., Nate Kennedy of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Nicole Maddox of Pine Bluff, Ark., collaborated with Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families (AACF) to explore the varying claim rates of the EITC and identify ways to improve tax preparation services.
The EITC rewards working families with a tax credit to alleviate the burden of larger expenditures like health care, education, childcare, housing and other needs. The project’s recommendations are designed to improve the accessibility and sustainability of tax preparation services that help eligible working families to maximize the value of the credit.
“This project came together after we sat down and said, ‘What can we do to impact poverty in Arkansas?” said Skip Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School. “The Earned Income Tax Credit is underutilized in our state and we hope this work will help raise awareness for its benefits.”
The students’ research focused on three Arkansas counties that are representative of state demographics and of the varying EITC claim rates across the state. In Garland, Phillips, and Pulaski Counties the students interviewed tax preparers with the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and AARP Foundation’s free tax sites as well as independent preparers and national chains.
“With 26 percent of children in Arkansas living in poverty, we must act. The EITC helps families move out of poverty and toward a more stable life. By emphasizing work, the EITC rewards people that are willing to work hard and play by the rules,” said Brett Kincaid, outreach director at AACF and supervisor of the research project.
The goal of the presentation is to inform stakeholders around tax preparation services in Arkansas and facilitate a conversation that will generate ideas to reform tax services for low- to moderate-income working families. Recommendations include creating a sustainable non-profit tax preparation service. The team will also produce a report with recommendations for improving the EITC. (more…)
The Clinton School hosted Little Rock Startup Weekend on Sunday, an entrepreneurial showcase that was won by a team including Clinton School graduate Chad Williamson.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers.
Teams of entrepreneurs in the Little Rock area worked on their startup ideas throughout the weekend and presented them on Sunday at the Clinton School. Arkansas Business covered the event:
The winning startup was Simple Service, an app that tracks and validates community service projects. Startup Weekend is a grassroots movement to launch startups that spread from its home base of Seattle to more than 200 cities around the world.
Simple Service team members include Chad Williamson, a Clinton School graduate who pitched the idea; David Allan and Sreesh Reddy, Hendrix College students; developers Travis Bennett and Kelt Dockins; designer Gordan Fisher, and Scott Shellabarger, project manager.
Williamson said the next step for Simple Service is to focus on Arkansas high schools and colleges.
“We believe there is a significant need to track, measure and verify public service hours for both college applications and professional resumes,” he said. “The byproduct becomes students performing public service as an opportunity instead of an obligation. We want students to be conscious of their public service efforts while contributing time to an cause they’re passionate about.”
Clinton School student Andrea Price attended the Mid-South Basic Economic Development Course last week at the University of Arkansas Little Rock’s Institute for Economic Advancement.
The course is an intensive introduction to the fundamentals of economic development that prepares participants to help their communities meet the competitive challenges they face in fostering economic advancement.
“This course was an excellent opportunity for me to see the importance of economic development as a means to social change. I had the opportunity to learn from the dynamic presenters and the other course participants,” Price said.
Economic developers, chamber of commerce leaders, community volunteers and governmental officials attended the course and workshop presenters included, Jeff Finkel, president of the Economic Development Council, Chris Masingill, Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, and Ronnie Bryant, president and CEO of Charlotte USA.
More information on the Institute of Economic Advancement can be found at www.aiea.ualr.edu.
A team of three Clinton School students contributed research findings and recommendations to the state’s largest and most scientifically rigorous school garden study.
In conjunction with the Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), Clinton School students Charles Fleeman of Los Angeles, Calif., Ann Owen of Little Rock, Ark., and Jenna Rhodes of Kansas City, Mo., conducted interviews and focus groups to gather opinions from students, teachers and staff about the sustainability of school gardens that are used to promote education, wellness and health.
The team’s research focused on Cloverdale Aerospace Technology Conversion Charter Middle School and Yellville-Summit Middle School, two of the seven Arkansas schools that have participated in the Delta Garden Study, a $2 million, four-year cooperative research study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service and administered by the Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program at ACHRI.
Emily English, program administrator of the study, said it is designed to assess the impact of school gardens on childhood obesity, social risk factors and academic achievement in middle school students in the Central and Delta regions of Arkansas.
The Clinton School team presented their research findings to Delta Garden Study staff and provided recommendations to the two study schools.
“This team’s work will greatly increase each school’s knowledge about sustainability of their garden program, and we plan to incorporate their recommendations for capacity building and organizational planning for future programs,” English said. (more…)
A team of Clinton School students conducted research this semester for a nonprofit that is fighting poverty in Phillips County, Ark., one of the most economically distressed counties in the state.
Clinton School students Kent Broughton of Pine Bluff, Ark., Krystle Chipman of San Jose, Calif., Calandra Davis of Brandon, Miss., and Matt Orr of Texarkana, Texas, spent seven months preparing an analysis of initiatives in Helena-West Helena, Ark., that complement the mission of Delta Circles, a nonprofit that is working to maximize efforts to fight poverty.
The students’ work involved planning, researching and conducting interviews with faith-based, government, healthcare, business, non-profit, education and social service organizations in the community.
The purpose of the interviews was to find existing assets and initiatives in the area that complement the Delta Circles mission. In conducting these interviews the looked to identify opportunities for collaboration among the organizations.
“This project is important for the community because as students conduct interviews with stakeholders it brings the issue of poverty to the forefront. It provides an opportunity for businesses, organizations, and individuals to play a roll in addressing the issue,” said Patricia Ashanti, executive director of Delta Circles.
“Delta Circles is important to the community because it provides the support that is often lacking for an individual or family to get ahead in their lives. It also recognizes the ability of an economically disadvantaged individual to still be an effective leader,” Ashanti said. (more…)