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Helping the community for class

This year’s John A. Lindquist Award recipient Patricia Cost addressed Weber State University in her speech Wednesday. Speaking to about 35 members of WSU’s faculty, staff and student body at the John A. Lindquist Lecture, Cost highlighted her mentoring experiences with the students.

Each year, the John A. Lindquist Award is given to a current WSU faculty or staff member who, according to the WSU website, has demonstrated outstanding commitment to mentoring WSU students in learning through civic engagement.

Cost received the award for her work teaching students to partner with the community. As an assistant professor of health promotion and health performance, Cost teaches a course which requires students to find a community partner, survey needs, and implement four health-related interventions.

Cost said she incorporates the idea of “when you know better, you do better” into her teaching by having her students do community-based learning.

“I believe it is my responsibility to help my students become morally and civically responsible individuals,” Cost said.
Basing her speech on her class, Health 4150 (Planning/Evaluating Health Promotion Program), Cost explained how the class combines research and theory. First, she said the students find a community partner, usually a nonprofit organization. Second, they assess the organization’s needs through a survey and then review the results with the community partner. Third, they plan four health-related interventions and teach these healthy life skills to the organization.

“My goal is to (help the students) go into a community, teach them a skill set so that they can become empowered to have a healthy life and a good quality of life,” Cost said. “I am hoping that when they know better, they do better.”

Cost is overseeing eight projects her students are planning and implementing  in the community this semester. She highlighted one of these projects, called “Get Out of Lockdown,” in her speech. It is a partnership with the Utah Department of Human Services Juvenile Justice Center. The students are planning a four-week exercise program for the children, and from their assessment, they have learned the children also want to learn about self-esteem and stress management.

Another project one of Cost’s students is doing is called “Wacky Warriors.” The student is planning and implementing a variety of activities to raise money for cancer research. So far this year, Wacky Warriors has raised more than $5,000 with a softball tournament they have planned.

“(Cost) molds us to be able to enter any situation and have confidence,” said Samantha Burton, one of  Cost’s students. “I think it is wonderful that Dr. Cost is willing to help the students get out in the community and (make it) better.”

Lori Greene, one of Cost’s students, said she will be taking Health 4150 next semester.  She said she is nervous about the community-based learning aspect of the class, but that she is confident in Cost’s abilities to help her.

“Dr. Cost is amazing. She really does teach us how to get in and learn and become,” Greene said. “We are not just the students, but we are the teacher too in whatever we do.”

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