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PSU’s Campus Compact for N.H. recognizes student, professor & agency


PLYMOUTH — A student volunteer, a philosophy professor and a federal agency were chosen by Plymouth State University to be honored by the Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) at its annual Presidents' Awards presentation April 8 in Bedford. CCNH is a statewide consortium of college and university presidents dedicated to advancing the civic purposes of higher education. PSU president Sara Jayne Steen said that such community engagement epitomizes Plymouth State University's motto, Ut prosim (That I may serve).

"We are so grateful for the extraordinary engagement we see here," Steen said. "Students, faculty and staff, and regional partners step up to make a difference in the lives of New Hampshire's citizens. PSU's motto is Ut prosim (That I May Serve), and it is lived here through strong partnerships, as people come together with energy and innovation to solve problems."

Monica McKeon was honored with the President's Leadership Award, which recognizes students or student groups who have made outstanding contributions to civic engagement. McKeon's service includes volunteering as a youth advisor coordinator at the Pemi Youth Center, serving as the student representative on PSU's Service Learning Partnership Committee and as an active participant in Community Conversations, which brings together community partners, university faculty, staff and area citizens for discussions on issues impacting the area.

"I am grateful for the award and humbled to have been recognized because community service is so important," McKeon said. "Part of the reason I chose to attend PSU was because of our motto. It's vital to encourage service learning partnerships and being a part of a university that emphasizes service learning is inspiring."

McKeon was also named a 2015 Newman Civic Fellows Award winner, a recognition bestowed on college students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. As such, she is considered to be among the next generation of the nation's civic leaders.

Maria Sanders, a PSU philosophy professor, received The Good Steward Award, which recognizes faculty or staff members who contribute professional expertise in service to the wider community. Sanders works to make philosophy relevant to community service. She integrates service learning into her courses so students find real-world applications through their learning, including assisting with the region's Collaborative Garden, advocating lifelong learning and organizing food and clothing drives.

"Fostering connections within the community to improve conditions for others and to help shape the community's future is incredibly important, so I am deeply honored to be recognized for public service on and off campus," Sanders said.

The White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) received the President's Community Partner Award, presented to a non-profit organization that has enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways and engaged in the development of sustained, reciprocal partnerships with a college or university. WMNF offers meaningful research experiences, internship and volunteer opportunities in programs such as environmental science and social science. Bill Dauer, WMNF Technical Services Team Leader, said he was proud the organization was recognized and noted that PSU is a valuable ally in serving the public.

"We're excited about the work we're doing together in conservation, providing place-based education and in serving our communities," Dauer said. "We are honored to receive this award from one of our key partners."

CCNH's programs and resources include training, advocacy, funding, legislative outreach and recognition for community-based work that both enhances student learning and provides needed public services. Annually, more than 23,000 student volunteers from CCNH's member campuses serve some 6 million hours in local communities through initiatives run or supported by their institutions, providing millions of dollars in services.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 07:06

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Grants from Electric Co-op, Plymouth Rotary to allow Circle Program to expand solar energy opportunities

PLYMOUTH — Thanks to two new grants to the Circle Program, one from the Plymouth Rotary Club and one from the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, a new Phase II collaboration between PAREI (the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative) and Circle will take place in the summer of 2015.

These new grants will allow for another opportunity for the energy professionals to develop more advanced educational curriculum and to continue to mentor Circle girls and teens in the exciting field of solar energy. Together, they will complete a lighting assessment at Circle Camp in order to further reduce the camp's energy footprint and usage. The girls will replace outdated light bulbs with LED bulbs through the NH Saves program. PAREI staff will teach the girls about monitoring their usage in the cabins and explain the net-metering of the camp's larger solar array which should reduce the previous high cost of heating huge quantities of water for showers.

"Reduce, reuse, and recycle" will be the Circle Camp mantra during the summer session as the girls learn about eliminating the "phantom load." The workshops will include two educational sessions and one camp work-day during which the girls will install solar lighting on posts along the camp driveway and pathways.

Phase II of the renewable energy curriculum will expand on the previous seven-month program of renewable energy educational workshops offered in 2014, called "Lights On!" – funded by a large grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Circle teens completed four all-day weekend workshops with PAREI – learning about the resources that generate energy; finding out how electricity is created to power devices; and analyzing the dynamics of supply and demand. In small groups, the Circle teens learned how to cut, strip and solder wire; discussed the difference in wire gauges; learned about conductivity and how to read schematics; reviewed how to understand and read a power bill; and practiced designing a schematic for a solar-powered energy system for Circle Camp.

As part of the renewable energy program, the teens and their mentors met with the directors of PAREI at Lakes Region Community College in Laconia. There they took a solar tour of the college's Energy Lab, played the energy source percentage matching game, analyzed energy usage on a pie chart, discussed commonly used renewable energy vocabulary, and participated in various energy lab demonstrations.

With the help of professional solar installers and volunteers, the four workshop sessions culminated in the building of small solar photovoltaic lighting systems for each of the Circle Camp cabins – eliminating the need for battery powered lanterns at night. This has saved on the need to constantly replace alkaline batteries. In addition to the small solar systems installed in the cabins, a large solar array was installed on the roof of the Circle Camp lodge that will save approximately $1,000 on every summer's electric bill.

At least two of the Circle teens were so enthused about what they had learned that they asked how they could become licensed electricians. The Circle Program provides these educational opportunities in order to fulfill its goal of peaking the girls' interests in potential careers for "life after high school." A main objective is to help teens become productive, contributing citizens that possess the skills that will make them attractive candidates to area employers. The new Phase II offering by PAREI will continue hands-on experiential learning so that Circle teens better understand the practical applications for renewable solar energy in their daily lives.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 06:58

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Help remove invasive plants from Squam Lakes Association trailhead next weekend

HOLDERNESS — On Saturday, May 9th from 10 a.m. to noon, the Squam Lakes Association invites community members to join them in removing invasive plants from the Rattlesnake Trailhead on Route 113 in Holderness.

The SLA began pulling invasive species from this area last year. Three truckloads of oriental bittersweet were removed thanks to the hard work of SLA staff and volunteers. This year, the SLA plans to pick up where they left off last year at one of the area's most popular trailheads.

"Removing invasives is a big job," says SLA Director of Conservation Rebecca Hanson, "but the hard work can be fun and satisfying with a great group of volunteers."

In the Squam Lakes Region there are a number of terrestrial invasive plants that choke out native plants, reduce biodiversity, and negatively impact wildlife. The SLA, in partnership with other area conservation organizations including the Squam Lakes Conservation Society, the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, and the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, is committed to managing the spread of invasive species and the restoration of impacted habitats.

Participants will also learn some basic plant identification and techniques for managing and removing invasive species common in the Squam Lakes region. The SLA will provide tools, water, and snacks. For more information, or to sign up visit the SLA website:squamlakes.org, or contact the organization directly at 603-968-7336 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 06:22

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Little Church Theater auditions May 17 & 18

HOLDERNESS — The Little Church Theater (LCT) will be holding its season auditions for LCT summer productions on Sunday and Monday, May 17 and 18. The auditions are for the production of Neil Simon's comedy "The Odd Couple", and the musical "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" by DiPietro and Roberts. Auditions will start promptly at 7:30 pm and will be held at The Little Church Theater on Route 113 in Holderness.

If performers would like to be considered for both productions, or just the musical, they are asked to prepare two contrasting sixteen bar musical theatre songs. An accompanist will be provided, therefore people are asked to bring sheet music. If performers only wish to be considered for The Odd Couple,  prepare two contrasting one-minute contemporary theatre monologues. Actors may also be asked to cold-read from a script provided.

The Odd Couple will be shown Thursday through Saturday, July 30, 31, and August 1. The show is about hypochondriac neat freak Felix and tactless, sloppy Oscar drive each other crazy as mismatched roommates in Neil Simon's award winning and hilarious classic comedy.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change will run Thursday through Saturday, August 13-15 and 20-22. This show is the second-longest running Off Broadway musical, this hit comedy explores the joys, trials and tribulations of dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws.

To sign up for an audition, or to ask any questions, please email Director Dan Pelletier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Additional information about The Little Church Theater, the performances and character descriptions are available at littlechurchtheater.com.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 06:17

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