ALMA, MI — Construction of a LEED-certified basketball arena/convocation center at Alma College begins this spring with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for May 1.

Construction will continue through multiple phases, culminating in a 29,000-square-foot addition to the Hogan Center, the existing athletics building. The $12.65 million project will provide a new home court for the men’s and women’s basketball teams and women’s volleyball team as well as a primary venue for campus events. The estimated completion date for the center is August 2010. The project is funded by a combination of gifts and the sale of tax-exempt bonds.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certification verifies that a building project is environmentally responsible and healthy place to live and work.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield College announces the campus activities surrounding its annual Out & Proud Week, which celebrates the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The celebration and activities are scheduled for the week of March 30-April 4. Films will be shown in the student center from Monday to Thursday at 4 p.m.; a roundtable discussion about religion and homosexuality is scheduled for April 2 at 2 p.m.; a Prop 8 Rally will be held on April 3; and the 4th Wall Theatre, a professional theatre company-in-residence at Westminster Arts Center, will present the play “Avow” Thursday to Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.

For more information about Out & Proud Week and the events taking place, contact the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement at (973) 748-9008, x301.

STORM LAKE, IA — Buena Vista University will offer a U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program starting this fall.

The ROTC program is expected to have a positive impact on recruitment of new students who have a special interest in a military career, said David Evans, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. The BVU program will be the only one offered in western Iowa and will be a branch of the ROTC program at Iowa State University. 
Students enrolled in the ROTC program can get a merit scholarship for up to five years of full tuition, said Capt. Matthew Stephenson, who is the scholarship and enrollment officer for the ROTC program at ISU. BVU will also provide scholarships for room and board for all ROTC scholarship students. At graduation, the ROTC students are commissioned as second lieutenants. Scholarship recipients are required to complete a military obligation with the Army National Guard, Army Reserve or the Active Army.

For more information about the ROTC program at BVU, contact them by email.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — Whether it was dealing with issues of poverty and HIV/AIDS or tutoring schoolchildren and learning about Arab/Muslim immigration in Europe, a record number of alternative spring break trips were offered last week by the Office of Service-Learning at Eckerd College.

Fifteen groups participated in a variety of service activities in 14 locations: Germany, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Miami, Virginia, New Orleans and a Native American reservation in Louisiana. Click here for a complete list of alternative spring break trip descriptions.

Upon returning to Eckerd, the teams and their leaders gather their photos and their reflections for trip summaries that will be compiled on the Office of Service Learning Web page.

HANOVER, IN — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will speak at Hanover College at 7 p.m. April 8 in Parker Auditorium. His presentation, “Our Environmental Destiny,” is part of Hanover’s Capstone series, “Water: The Rise and Fall of Civilizations.”

Kennedy’s reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. Time magazine named Kennedy one of its “Heroes for the Planet” for his success helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 160 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe.
Kennedy serves as senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, chief prosecuting attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is also a clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic and co-host of “Ring of Fire” on Air America Radio. 

JAMESTOWN, ND — Jamestown College’s Larson Center gym has been transformed into a Federal Medical Station with the potential to house patients with special medical needs that have been evacuated from Fargo due to flooding.

Student volunteers assisted Central Valley Health District and other medical response agencies in unloading and setting up 250 cots March 28. A team of about 100 personnel, provided primarily by the U.S. Public Health Service, is needed to staff the station. The sites will receive supplemental staff from volunteer medical personnel across North Dakota.

The station is an asset requested from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by the North Dakota Department of Health. The station contains a three-day supply of medical and pharmaceutical resources to sustain 250 stable primary care-based patients who require bedding services.

BANNER ELK, NC — David W. Bushman announced March 5 that he will be stepping down as the 13th president of Lees-McRae College effective May 31. He will return to Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD, to serve as the founding dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Math. Bushman has been president of Lees-McRae since October 2004.
Before serving Lees-McRae, Bushman was a tenured professor of biology, Chair of the Department of Science, Director of the Office of Assessment and Dean of Academic Services at Mount St. Mary’s, where he worked for 13 years.

ST. CHARLES, MO — Renowned National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb will finish the 2008-09 Lindenwood University Speaker Series with a talk on 21st century slavery at 7 p.m. on April 14 at Lindenwood’s Spellmann Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Cobb specializes in large-scale, global stories exploring such topics as 21st-century slavery, as well as more intimate stories set inside closed and secret worlds. A staff photographer for National Geographic, she has worked in more than 50 countries, primarily in the Middle East and Asia.

Cobb was one of the first photographers to cross China when it reopened to the West, traveling 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) in two months for the book Journey Into China. She was the first photographer to enter the hidden lives of women of Saudi Arabia, welcomed into the palaces of princesses and the tents of Bedouins for a landmark article in 1987. She was also the first woman to be named White House Photographer of the Year.

LAURINBURG, NC — The Scottish Heritage Center held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting for its new facility on the campus at St. Andrews Presbyterian College March 20. The grand opening was part of the college’s Scottish Heritage Weekend, March 20-22.

The Scottish Heritage Center was begun by St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 1989 as a project aimed at highlighting the Scottish heritage of the college and the greater region.

In addition to roughly 4,000 volumes of old and rare books and other materials relative to Scottish history, genealogy, and culture, the center houses a collection of artifacts relative to Scots who settled in the region, an interpretive exhibit room that documents the history and lore of the Scottish settlement and notable artwork and other memorabilia.