Xilinx Partnership with YSI Promotes Stewardship
By Gabriel McLarnan
EcoCenter, Palo Alto– Continuing with the trend of tech companies in the semiconductor industry, Xilinx is a leader in developing applications that are both “software defined, yet hardware optimized”. In the ever prominent field of Cloud Computing, Xilinx prides itself in being on the cutting edge of innovation. The Company permeates this sense of advancement into not only the business side of their operations, but also into their involvement with the community.
At Xilinx, community engagement has been a long standing source of pride for the company. For Xilinx, the vision is to engender the transformation of science and technology education in the 21st century through dedicated partnerships between educators, community leaders, and nonprofits. Xilinx is especially supportive of education models that provide systemic social impact in local communities.
Photo Credit: http://www.xilinx.com/about/community-engagement/india-csr.html
For instance in 2007, through the Xilinx Educational Ecosystem program, a “K-to-Corporate” public-private partnership providing funding and services to public schools near the Company’s headquarters in San Jose, California was formed in order to making a meaningful impact in the local community. Manager of Global community relations, Patty Nation, states that the goals of the program are to “build relationships through funding and service, between Xilinx, schools and community partners—and as a result increase student achievement in targeted areas including education, community and social, health and the arts.”
Photo Credit: http://www.xilinx.com/about/community-engagement/educational-ecosystem.html
According to Patty, this program is so successful because it connects Xilinx employees to local students to increase their achievement and promote long-term success. Employees participate in the work of the Educational Ecosystem and from the community partners. One partner we at the EV are keen to highlight is the Youth Science Institute, a nonprofit organization that uses nature to teach science to more than 30,000 preschool through 8th grade students annually. Since 1953 YSI has inspired children’s enthusiasm for science and cultivated a sense of earth stewardship. Through its partnership with the YSI, Xilinx volunteers from the Education Ecosystem program provide hands on science education to students from Union Middle School and Oster Elementary Schools. These students also get out of the classroom and visit YSI on-site during field trips to Sanborn County Park, Alum Rock Park, and Vasona Park.
Deb Negrete, Principal of Ida Price Middle School in San Jose, praised YSI for their crucial role in supporting their science curriculum. The school only provides their lab program for 7-8th graders so a need exists for an interactive extension for the 6th grade. That’s where YSI comes in. Negrete emphasized that “bringing YSI into [their] science classes in 6th grade is that real life experience and being able to bring in hands-on opportunities to make science real.” With the support of Xilinx, YSI is able to make a meaningful impact on students who in some cases have never even been on nature hike or really cultivated a sense of wonder on the natural world.
Photo Credit: George Sakkestad and the San Jose Mercury News
According to YSI Executive Director Dianne Riccio, “a lot of kids who live on the east side of San Jose have never had the opportunity to visit a park or have a pet. Additionally, 33 percent of program participants are at-risk students from Title I schools, and 28 percent are English language learners. It is clear that through the partnership with YSI, Xilinx is creating real and long-term positive change in the local community.
Here at the EcoCenter, we similarly promote hands-on learning to cultivate a sense of stewardship for the environment and connect with engagement driven learning for science students. Through our new hands-on learning tool, EcoCenter on Wheels, docents have the expanded ability to bring alive topics on skull adaptations, Bay plants and nesting habitats while taking a tour of the Baylands preserve.
We recognize Xilinx for their Education Ecosystem program and partnership with YSI because it highlights the company’s role in bringing innovative science education to the next generation of students. Companies like Xilinx are so important to this cause because they not only contribute by creating the next generation of stewards, but also through emulating stewardship principles as volunteers.