Fountain outreach efforts net money for restoration, lasting contacts

UCCS students who participated in a “cemetery crawl” pose with their instructor, Barbara Headle, for a group picture.

A first-ever Fountain Fairview Cemetery crawl organized by UCCS faculty and students generated more than $4,000 and built ties between the city of Fountain and UCCS that will provide benefits for years to come.

Barbara Headle, senior instructor, Department of History, and Mike Larkin, instructor, Geography and Environmental Studies, led a summer class and used the Fountain Fairview Cemetery as a lesson in primary sources. When the cemetery was later vandalized, Headle, Larkin and students got involved in fundraising efforts by leading tours of the cemetery and selling some of their pre-vandalism photographs.

“They knocked it out of the park,” Headle said of her students who conducted research, wrote, and memorized scripts about historic figures buried at Fairview and then presented them to visitors.

For four hours on Nov. 3, 125 people paid $10 each to hear the student’s presentations and tour the cemetery. Those funds, as well as additional money raised from a silent auction of student photos, raised almost $2,000 for help in restoring the damage caused by vandals and improving cemetery security. Later, two Fountain-based groups presented checks to the city of Fountain for the cemetery and complimented the UCCS efforts. The tally jumped to $4,653.98.

“We benefitted as a faculty, the students benefitted and the community benefitted,” Headle said. “Our students raised $4,653 by asking what they could do to help and then doing it.”

While it would be easy to rest on the laurels of the effort, Headle is moving forward. The summer class “Cemeteries, Legacies, and American History” offered as a test will be repeated this fall with Headle hoping for as many as 30 students enrolled. Another cemetery crawl will be part of the curriculum and both history and geography students are being involved by the city of Fountain in finding a location for a new cemetery for use when Fairview reaches capacity.

They’re also making connections that Headle hopes will lead to interest in careers. A city official in charge of planning was an undergraduate geography major and has expressed interest in having UCCS students as interns.

“It’s hard to believe that one of my goofy classes led to all of this,” Headle said.

She was joined by Larkin who called the first crawl, and the second, scheduled for Oct. 12, 2013, as “great examples of service and experiential learning.”

To see an earlier Communique story about Headle’s and Larkin’s efforts, visit http://communique.uccs.edu/?p=8644

 

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