Washington, DC—Six colleges and universities have been named as Presidential Awardees in the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.
“Congratulations to the awardees and students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. “Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.
The Corporation's Learn and Serve America program, in particular, is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curriculum. Through these programs, in class and in extracurricular activities, college students serve others in their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills. In addition, service-learning fosters partnerships between colleges and their communities that improve communities and helps meet immediate community needs.
The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses. Click here for a full list of Honor Roll recipients and descriptions of their service.
The colleges and universities were honored in two categories: general community service, which considers the scope and quality of an institution's community service, service-learning, and civic engagement programs; and service to youth from disadvantaged circumstances. Three were named as Presidential Awardees in each category.
General Community Service Awardees
- Lee University, Cleveland, TN— Lee University students completed more than 60,000 hours of volunteer service last year, in projects aimed at poverty relief, food collection and distribution, and helping students with autism and other developmental disabilities. More than 80% of the students are involved in volunteering and service-learning.
- Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH—More than 1,700 OWU students volunteered last year, with many of them tutoring and mentoring K-12 students in the Columbus Public School District. Spring break typically finds the students traveling to other communities for service, including an orphanage in El Salvador and Lakota reservations in South Dakota.
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC— Students contributed more than one million hours of service last year in projects involving more than 150 community organizations. Projects focus on issues such as combating local and global hunger; providing HIV testing and health support to individuals; and outreach to the growing Latino population.
Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances Awardees
- Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA— More than 80% of the college's students participated in service projects in 2008-09, with a focus on sustainable development projects to improve living standards in rural Southwest Virginia. Students also provide a tutoring and mentoring program and an afterschool enrichment program in local schools.
- Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville, NJ—Students at Raritan Valley serve as mentors and tutors, offer financial and career planning, provide peer counseling, and address literacy needs in the ESL community. Raritan Valley has created a regional collaboration between the community colleges of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania to advance service-learning initiatives for disadvantaged populations.
- Willamette University, Salem, OR—Students serve disadvantaged youth through the Willamette Academy, a program designed to help middle and high school students overcome factors that discourage them from attending college, and at the Chemwa Indian school, offering tutoring to 150 students at the Salem-based school each week. The program also includes shared social, cultural, and educational experiences between the campuses.
Click here for a full list of honorees.