Capstone course is a lesson in publishing and community outreach

It’s been one year since associate professor of communications Dr. William Yates’ service-learning practicum class collaborated on the production of a community-sourced cookbook, in the spring of 2013. Now, with nearly 100 percent of the units sold, Dr. Yates proudly presented the culmination of his and his class’ work to its beneficiary on February 26: a check in the sum of $1,010 dollars to Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry.

“Of course, this is a great opportunity and gift,” says Amy Russell, coordinator of Catherine’s Cupboard. “This will go directly toward stocking the Cupboard’s shelves with nutritious food.” Catherine’s Cupboard, which is housed in Standish Town Hall, provides residents of Cumberland and part of York counties access to healthy food throughout the year.

Chefosity, the product of a semester-long lesson in book publishing, is a cookbook with recipes gathered from the College community – including from those on campus, alumni, and those in the extended community. In the course of the book’s production, Dr. Yates’ students didn’t only learn the steps needed to produce a printed publication, they also learned how to make a product that would then benefit a good cause.

“The book was produced by five students,” says Dr. Yates, “all communications majors. It was our goal from the very beginning that the sales of the cookbook would go directly to Catherine’s Cupboard.” And for the communications department, this kind of project isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

The service-learning practicum is the department’s senior capstone course. But “years ago,” says Kimberly Post, the College’s director of community-based learning, “the department made service learning an integral part of the course in order to give students hands-on experience in real-world settings while connecting academic learning to the College’s Core Value of community and ethos of service. They were the first department to integrate a service-learning component into a senior capstone course, and now we are starting to see other programs follow suit.”

Russell, who points out that members of the College community are constantly giving back to good causes, is happy that service-learning projects like this are integrated into the academics at the College. “It’s a great example of how the things we do for others come full circle,” she says. In regard to the cookbook, “there are the recipes from the College and outside communities; there are the College students and faculty who edited and worked on the design of the book; it was sold on and off campus with the assistance of College faculty, staff, students, and alumni; and now, as an addition in Catherine Cupboard’s lending library, and in the form of the monetary donation, it’s as asset to members of the greater community.”

Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Michael Pardales, President James Dlugos, Dr. William Yates, and Amy Russell.

On February 26, 2014, Dr. William Yates presented Amy Russell a check for $1,010 to benefit Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry. The funds were raised by the sale of Chefosity, a cookbook created by Dr. Yates’ service-learning practicum class in spring 2013. Attending the check handoff was (left to right) Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Michael Pardales, President James Dlugos, Dr. William Yates, and Amy Russell.