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Aquinas Professor Honored with Michigan Campus Compact Faculty Community Service-Learning Award

February 4, 2014 - (GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.) - On Monday, February 3, 2014, Cindy VanGelderen, Associate Professor of Accounting and Chair of the Accounting Department, was awarded the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty Community Service-Learning Award at the Michigan Campus Compact Civic Engagement Awards Ceremony and 25th Anniversary Celebration held at Loosemore Auditorium on the Grand Rapids campus of Grand Valley State University.

[Pictured at right (left to right): Robin Grinnell, Executive Director, Michigan Campus Compact; Kathy Kremer, Dean of Curriculum and Associate Professor of Sociology; Cindy VanGelderen, Associate Professor of Accounting; and Eric Bridge, Coordinator of Service-Learning]

Professor VanGelderen, a member of the Michigan Association of CPAs, supports Aquinas College students to deliver free tax preparation services to underserved populations through the West Michigan Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Collegiate Partnership (WMVCP). Through 14 West Michigan sites, including a tax preparation site she arranged on our campus, students gain hands-on tax preparation skills while learning from experienced CPAs. As an active member of WMVCP, Professor VanGelderen also provides training to volunteer tax preparers from outside of Aquinas.

At the February 3 Awards Ceremony, the West Michigan VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Collegiate Partnership was also recognized by Campus Compact as a Campus-Community Partnership Award Finalist. Since it was founded in 2010 by a collaboration of both private and public colleges and universities (including Aquinas College) and more than 30 community organizations, WMVCP has engaged over 175 student volunteers in three counties, serving 10,977 individuals and families who have received over $16 million in tax credits and refunds.

Michigan Campus Compact (MiCC) promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular, and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning, and civic engagement. MiCC is a compact of 38 Michigan college presidents, including Aquinas President Juan Olivarez.

Biennially MiCC celebrates the outstanding community service work of faculty and staff from member institutions. Each member institution may select an award recipient who engages or influences students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence, or instruction.