Beech Grove Cemetery holds many wonderful stories about the people who came from Muncie and made contributions as state, national and international citizens. Muncie’s Beech Grove Cemetery Board asked Ball State students to create a book to document these stories and to transfer that content into a walking tour that would allow visitors to access that information via smartphones. Students gained experience in historical research, technical, and public writing. The students were responsible for conducting research, identifying themes, designing interpretation, and selecting stories for the book and app.
Muncie – like many Midwest industrial communities – is recovering from the recent recession and the resulting blight. According to research completed by Ball State’s historic preservation graduate students, the cities that are making the best recoveries are those with strategies that combine historic preservation and city planning to enact redevelopment efforts based on strategic demolitions, rehabilitations, targeted code enforcement and land banking. They have two major strategies in common: data collection and good preservation plans. Through this immersive learning project, Ball State students led by Faculty Mentor Susan Lankford, participated in ScoutMuncie, a data collection and historic resources survey initiated by Muncie’s Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation Commission. The students used this data, information gathered through a series of community meetings, and their own research to prepare a preservation plan that will guide the Commission’s efforts to preserve our history and use our historic resources to increase quality of life, strengthen our sense of place, and ensure our Sustainability.
People make Muncie tick. This city was built and continues to run because of complex, interesting, fascinating people. This project celebrates the lives of everyday Muncie residents and their contributions to the economy, history, diversity and culture of this community, focusing on telling the stories of their lives and their professions. By spending time with these people, the Ball State students and their Telecommunications Faculty Mentor, Suzy Smith, were able to shed light on what it takes to create a diverse, steadfast and strong-willed community.
Pam Harwood, of the Ball State University Department of Architecture, led teams of students from various majors in this Immersive Learning project designed to combine learning and playtime for Muncie children.
“Our children are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world,” wrote Richard Louv. This project presented a variety of small-scale design-build opportunities for interdisciplinary teams of students to develop into innovative play elements for a nature-based outdoor learning environment at Head Start’s preschool in Muncie. An integration of design, making, teaching, and learning was paramount in this elective. Whether using salvaged timbers for a series of small bridges in the wetlands, or re-harvested wood in the knowledge wall, sustainable construction and environmental education was the goal of this nature-based preschool environment. Age-appropriate activity settings were co-created with children in a user-centered manner, where the approach to learning was gently guided, open-ended explorations in sensitively constructed learning spaces and natural habitats.
The Riverside/Normal City Neighborhood Action Plan (RNAP) is a citizen-generated policy regarding the future of the neighborhood, containing initiatives that were developed by the residents of the neighborhood with the assistance of 14 Ball State students. The RNAP will fall under the umbrella of the Muncie Action Plan, which is a strategic guide for the city to create an action agenda for the future. Students researched historical facts, compiled and analyzed census data, and designed and conducted a survey for neighborhood residents. A RNAP Handbook was also produced as a document to aid citizen planners when they begin to enact initiatives from the Plan.
In this project, Ball State University graduate students worked to manage and organize Big Read activities in Muncie, Indiana. The Big Read is a project which aims to promote reading activities among citizens in local communities. The students learned a variety of organizational and management theories and strategies and put them into practice by marketing and organizing The Big Read program.