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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Service learning program to benefit community experience

The Native American Service Learning Partnership Institute takes place next week, bringing together the NMU Center for Native American Studies and the rest of the local community for the event’s first run.

The service learning partnership is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 3 and continue into Friday, April 4 in the Great Lakes Rooms at NMU University Center. According to the Center for Native American Studies, registration begins at noon Thursday with a continental breakfast provided at 9 a.m. Friday.

William Mendoza

Senior biology major and student coordinator Larry Croschere said the concept behind the upcoming institution stems from an old source and is highly anticipated to be successful this year.

“This is the first time we are ever doing this,” Croschere said. “This is our pilot. The idea of service learning is very old in Native American cultures. That is really how we learn. What we are doing here is providing an opportunity to help the public learn a Native American way of learning and providing examples from our classes and other presenters.”

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According to Martin Reinhardt, Native American studies associate professor, this year’s pilot program will include several guest speakers from across the nation.

Reinhardt said one of the special guests will be coming from Washington, D.C. and will be speaking with the administration at NMU.

“We have a couple of keynotes on Thursday (April 3),” Reinhardt said. “First, we have William Mendoza (executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education). He’ll be here that evening and he will be sticking around to meet with the president of the university to talk about relationships between NMU and Native American tribes. He will also be introducing the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ that the White House just announced.”

According to the White House, “My Brother’s Keeper” is a “new initiative with leading foundations and businesses that will take a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to build ladders of opportunity and unlock the full potential of boys and young men of color.”

Reinhardt also said there will be other important guest speakers to bring further perspective into service learning in his department and two speakers from Lake Superior State University who will talk about the equality of life.

“The sessions will include many other local practitioners of service learning,” Reinhardt said. “We have presenters coming from the community, along with myself. We will also have students from my class presenting at the institution. We have Chuck Ganzert, who is the former chair of service learning, and he will be doing a presentation of his own along with other speakers from tribal colleges.

“We also have McClellan Hall speaking on Friday (April 4). He’ll be talking about how he has started the National Indian Youth Leadership Project, or NIYLP.”

According to the NIYLP’s website, Hall’s project focuses on “year-round adventure-based learning in area mid schools” and “seeks to foster youth leaders who are culturally sensitive and promote healthy lifestyles as an example for future generations.”

For people planning on registering for the Native American Service Learning Partnership Institute, the conference and institute is free to the public. However, Reinhardt said the number of openings for the event is low.

“The event is limited to the first 100 registrations, so they better get going,” Reinhardt said. “We have dinner the first day, followed by a continental breakfast and lunch the next day. Registration is now open and has been open for a while and can go online and do that now.

“We will accept registration at the door. It’s first come, first serve.”

Online registrations for the service institute can be made at and more information can be found by calling (906) 227-1397. For more information about “My Brother’s Keeper,” visit

For more information about NIYLP, check out

Croschere said being able to help the community understand how service learning aids other cultures in the community is key to the institute.

“‘Naadmage’ means to help or to be a helper,” Croschere said. “Traditionally, learning different skills comes from learning from different helpers, volunteers and just being involved with firsthand experiences.”

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