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Art Professor, Students Awarded Heifer University Scholarships

The director of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Turning and Furniture Design and two Art students have been awarded competitive scholarships to attend Heifer University for Educators.

Art professor Steve Loar, graduate Art student Ben Oddi, of Sandy Lake, and junior Art Education major Roxanne Hotaling, of Manchester, will attend the program at Heifer International Headquarters in Little Rock and at the Heifer Learning Center at Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark., July 15–19.

The program is for teachers, librarians, school administrators, and others who are interested in knowing more about Heifer’s educational outreach. Loar was selected for the scholarship as an educator; the students were selected as future educators.

Heifer University for Educators focuses on educational outreach programs that can be used to motivate classrooms or groups to contribute to sustainable solutions to end hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation.

A grant from Heifer International pays for accommodations, meals, resource materials, and programming.

“It is difficult to articulate a clearer message than Heifer’s,” Loar said. “While not exactly the Golden Rule, its message of charitable treatment of one another and, by extension, the animals that make much of our lives possible, is a basis for civilized societies throughout the world and history. Heifer’s emphasis on individual responsibility, from receiving education to the ongoing care of the gifts to the expectation of extending the gifts to others, is unusual. How can you do better than promoting world peace by ending hunger and Heifer's motto of ‘Why teach, when you can inspire?’”

Loar recently received a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Council grant in support of his program Classroom-to-the-Field, Creating a Model Program: Art as Environmental Remediation.

This program includes the study-abroad class Recycling the Beach, which will take place on Andros Island, Bahamas. For three weeks in June, students will collect debris from the beaches and explore methods for translating these items into sculpture and small-scale architecture.

To culminate the class activities, a workshop, exhibition, and sale are planned for the HUB Gallery in Nassau, New Providence.

In Fall 2008, Loar directed his students in the development of a special exhibition of art made from recycled plastics, Animals in Your Trash. Loar partnered with the Indiana County Recycling Center for the project.

Oddi is completing his Master of Fine Arts at IUP. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and teaching certification from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Hotaling is working with Oddi and Loar on development of green-initiative and educational programming.

This fall, her work in post-consumer materials will be featured in the book Fantastic Plastic.