Civic Engagement

Associate Professor of History Michael Schroeder has become a member of the Steering Committee of a newly-formed non-profit, as-yet unincorporated citizens association called Protect Our Pennsylvania (POP), dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of all Pennsylvanians, focusing on the abuse of eminent domain laws by private corporations.

On the morning of Tuesday, October 18, during Fall Break, Schroeder and POP Steering Committee organized a rally in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, in collaboration with Senator Mike Folmer, who is poised to co-sponsor legislation next year to limit the use of eminent domain in Pennsylvania exclusively to cases of genuine “public use”.


Schroeder, who spoke at the rally, was quoted in a story by LVC graduate Marie Cusick of National Public Radio’s “State Impact” series ( ), and in the Lebanon Daily News


Civic Mindfulness: Mike Schroeder

It was a very busy summer of community engagement for Associate Professor of History, Michael Schroeder, who’s in a leadership position in five distinct but related non-profit local community organizations:

As Co-President of the Friends of Old Annville (FOOA, at, he coordinated the 28th Annual Historic Old Annville Day on Saturday, June 11, working with Annville Township officials, the Public Works Department, local businesses, and others, as reported in the July-August issue of FOOA’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Landmark (for which he serves as chief editor).

As a member of the Quittie Creek Nature Park Committee (a subcommittee of the Friends of Old Annville, but in practice functionally autonomous), he helped to clear the parkland, trails, and recently reconstructed streambanks of invasive species, and remove fallen trees and limbs from the trails; and worked with Annville Township, the Quittapahilla Watershed Association, and the Doc Fritchey Chapter of Trout Unlimited in developing plans for a handicapped-accessible fishing area in the Nature Park just east of the Spruce Street bridge.

As Vice President of the grassroots, non-profit citizens organization Lebanon Pipeline Awareness (LPA), he participated in a wide range of activities, including staffing informational tables at National Night Out in Campbelltown and at the Lebanon County Fair; having letters, op-ed pieces, and press releases published in the Lebanon Daily News; marching with members of LPA’s sister organization, Lancaster Against Pipelines, along the route of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project in Lancaster County; organizing public meetings for landowners and others; and meeting with public officials and bodies, including the Lebanon County Commissioners, Sen. Mike Folmer, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission – all in the effort to raise public awareness about the ongoing pipeline revolution in Lebanon County.

As Executive Director of the Quittapahilla Creek Garbage Museum in Annville, he hosted the Garbage Museum’s Fifth Annual Grand Opening on Saturday, June 11, and was especially heartened to welcome a record number of visitors to the museum, including several from overseas, as well as a group of children and parents from Lebanon Scoutreach in Palmyra.

As Co-President of the Quittapahilla Watershed Association (QWA), he helped to initiate a community outreach effort in Cleona for a stream restoration project similar to the one along Quittie Creek in Annville; participated in the Snitz Creek Waterfest in the Creekside neighborhood in South Lebanon; staffed a QWA table at Historic Old Annville Day; and kept the QWA’s website up-to-date, including photo-documenting the stream restoration project (at > Photos & Documents > Restoration 2014-2016).

Mike, who invites faculty members and others interested in participating in any of these organizations, at whatever level, to be in touch.


Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, p.4).

What is mindfulness?

The practice of being mindful involves paying attention to the present moment and being in a non-reactive state—meaning that there is no judgment about the right or wrong ways to feel about the events we are experiencing. When we are mindful, we stay in the present moment without rehashing the past or living in the future. When we pay attention on purpose, we have a “conscious direction of our awareness” in the present (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, p.4).

Why does LVC need mindful education?

The current generation of emerging adults (18-29) report high levels of stress, significant levels of anxiety and depression, and a host of physical and mental health problems that range from sleep disturbances to suicidal and self-harm behavior. Additionally, American workers in all fields report a high prevalence of stress-related physical and mental health problems, especially those who face emotionally demanding and challenging circumstances—circumstances that exist in all institutions of higher education (IHE’s).

In the past 20 years, there has been an exponential increase in the appearance of the words “meditation,” “mindfulness” and “yoga” in peer-reviewed journals, many of which demonstrate that mindfulness produces a host of positive outcomes including, but not limited to, reduced stress and negative emotions, reduced depression, improved focus and attention, increased empathy, reduced obesity, and overall enhanced well-being. Benefits of learned mindfulness skills are experienced in as little as 8-weeks of practice; some report overnight relief from a few practices (Ragoonaden, 2015)

Because of the evidence of the far ranging benefits of mindfulness, a growing number of institutions of higher education (IHE’s)  have incorporated a contemplative, secular mindfulness dimension within their curriculum including the University of Virginia, Redlands, Emory, Brown, Rice, Amherst, Smith, Michigan, Naropa, etc.. These IHE’s   incorporate mindful practices throughout the organizational culture.  They recognize that professional success within the high performing culture of the IHE, and the world of work that awaits graduates, demands that we provide the tools for faculty, staff and students to focus on self-care that enhances workplace productivity and well-being.

Presidents Innovation Fund to Introduce Mindfulness to LVC

            During the 2016-2017 academic year, programming will be undertaken to introduce mindfulness into the campus culture. The first phase will primarily target faculty and staff. The goal is to prepare participants to bring mindful education into the classroom and cocurricular environment—phase 2. A second goal of phase one is to enhance faculty and staff work satisfaction and productivity—another byproduct of mindfulness.

To achieve phase 1 goals, friend of the college Michael Carroll, author of Awake at Work (2005) and The Mindful Leader (2008) the will kick-off the effort in mid-September with a keynote event. This event will be followed with both fall and spring CETL workshops as well as a one-day mindfulness retreat.

Although the benefits of mindful practice are well established, successful integration of these practices into the college culture and pedagogy requires a commitment to practice.

Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it (Salzberg, 2010).

All mindfulness programming sponsored by the Presidents Innovation Fund will embody a commitment to practice.  Please join us in the effort to make LVC a more mindful learning community.


Carroll, M. (2005).Awake at Work: Facing the Challenges of Life on the Job. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications.

Carroll, M. (2007). The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation. Boston, MA: Trumpeter Books.

Ragoonaden, K. (2015). Mindful Teaching and Learning: Developing a Pedagogy of Well-Being. New York: Lexington Books.

Salzberg, S (2010). Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation. New York: Workman.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994).Wherever you go, there you are. New York: Hyperion.