March 30, 2021

Class Assignment Turns into $30,000 Grant for Pine Ridge Reservation

By B&SC News Team

Class Assignment Turns into $30,000 Grant for Pine Ridge Reservation

The hands-on coursework in a Bryant & Stratton class is intended to benefit our students. However, a recent health administration course delivered at our Greece campus also provided much-needed support for families over 1,000 miles away. As an assignment, four eager students worked with instructor Walter Becker to write a grant proposal to support the Oglala Sioux people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Located near Mount Rushmore, the Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest places in the United States; 97% of its residents live below the poverty line, average life expectancy is between 48 and 52 years, and the high school dropout rate is over 70%. In the past several years, those challenges have been escalated by the spread of opioid addiction on the reservation.

Becker, a Bryant & Stratton College graduate himself, started instructing the Hospital and Community Agency Funding class this spring after retiring from a long career in hospital finance. He is a firm believer in teaching through real-world assignments. “That life experience they get is so much better than the theories in a textbook,” he says.

In past years, Becker would research Rochester-area non-profit organizations to support through grant-writing exercises. Student efforts would generate awards of up to

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