Campus News in Brief

CIT receives presidential honor

On Feb. 11, Carnegie Institute of Technology was recognized by Learn and Serve America and placed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts to disadvantaged youth.

The award was given for the Toys for Tots program, established at Carnegie Mellon by the First-Year Advisory Board to the engineering college in December 2006.

Although created by the board, the program has since extended to the entire university.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities across the nation that support innovative community service programs. It is also the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive to recognize its community service and civic engagement efforts. Carnegie Mellon was one of 528 schools to get this honor.

Toys for Tots is a program established in 1947 and run by the U.S. Marine Corps that delivers toys to children from disadvantaged families at Christmastime.

Each year, the U.S. Marine Corps picks up the toys in a horse-drawn carriage that circles the Cut before exiting on Frew Street. Members of the board ride on the sleigh with the toys they have collected.

The board was started in September 2006 and consists of 20 first-year students selected from all engineering majors who work to ensure that the needs of first-year engineers are met.

The Board plans to continue Toys for Tots this upcoming Christmas.

Professor educates on health

Kristin Hughes, an associate professor in the School of Design, has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and local public schools to create an interactive learning game aimed at instilling healthy lifestyles in children.

The program, Fitwits, allows teachers and doctors to educate children and families with a number of educational games that are embedded with content about healthy choices.

These games include three main categories: Games for Health, for schools; Doctor’s Spaces, for doctors’ waiting rooms; and Fitwits Healthperks, for local businesses; in which consumers are rewarded for healthy choices.

Games for Health include memory, matching, and trivia games that teach students about the concept of food portions. Hughes is also working on recess and gym games that encourage students to exercise.

As part of Doctor’s Spaces, flashcards will be instituted in doctors’ waiting rooms that teach kids healthy food choices in place of junk food.

For Fitwits Healthperks, Hughes is working with local businesses to offer discounts and coupon incentives to customers who chose to eat healthily.

Fitwits will be available in March, when it will be tested in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.