WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced the five institutions that are the Presidential Awardees in the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The institutions were cited for their achievements in general community service or in one of two special focus areas which align with the President’s education and innovation priorities, the Promise Neighborhoods model and early childhood education.
The 2013 Presidential Award winners are: Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody, Ga.; Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa.; and the University of Connecticut, Storrs-Mansfield, Conn.; as well as La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif., for its Promise Neighborhoods model; and Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y., for its early childhood education efforts.
“We congratulate the awardees and the students for their dedication to service,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS.“These institutions have inspired students and faculty alike to roll up their sleeves and work alongside members of the community to solve problems and improve their neighbors’ lives.”
In addition to the Presidential Award winners, a total of 690 higher education institutions were named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Of this number, 113 institutions earned the recognition of Honor Roll with Distinction.
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006.
“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”
College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.
“Across the nation, in the communities in which HUD works, I’ve seen many students who have committed themselves to assisting individuals and strengthening neighborhoods,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “HUD congratulates these institutions and is honored to be part of this effort that recognizes colleges and their students for putting the common good before personal gain.”
CNCS manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.
The Presidential Award Winners
General Community Service
• Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur, Ga. — George Perimeter College campuses in Clarkston and Decatur are located in communities with the most underserved populations in the Atlanta metro area. In 2012, students contributed more than 189,500 service hours to address issues in their community, including education, environmental sustainability, immigrant and refugee literacy, and veteran needs.
• Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa. — At Gettysburg College, 72 percent of students engage in community service; many of these students are logging long hours working to connect their peers with volunteer projects developed in partnership with community organizations. With one in every four families dealing with food insecurity and 70 percent of the community living in poverty, Gettysburg students have distributed over 12,000 pounds of food, and have provided afterschool tutoring and mentoring for young learners in the community and for migrant farm workers and their children.
• University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn. — In the 2011-12 academic year, UConn’s Community Outreach saw increase of 278 percent in student participation and 540 percent in service hours compared to 2003. At UConn, interest currently exceeds capacity and students are encouraged to participate in diverse projects that benefit surrounding communities and inner cities. Projects have included a positive sports-based youth development program and presenting leadership development workshops twice a week for local high school students from low-income households.
Promise Neighborhoods Award Recipient
· La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif. — La Sierra University takes a “cradle-to-career-to-college” approach to help local children reach their full potential. La Sierra students apply their talents to provide children with coordinated education, family, social service, and community programs. Last year, business students analyzed the Alvord Unified School District to determine which materials and resources would be necessary to secure grants. Students also provided tutoring, mentoring, and project-based activities to the school district where about half the students are from low-income families and are learning English as a new language. In addition, La Sierra University student have logged 500 service hours for critical anti-bullying activities.
Early Childhood Education Award Recipient
· Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y. — For the past 21 years, fall orientation at Nazareth College has kicked off with a day of service. The college has also partnered with organizations like Discovery Charter School (DCS), a school serving high-needs elementary students. Last year, Nazareth students worked with 25 DCS students in a curriculum rich in literacy, arts, social skills, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), resulting in DCS summer students making significant academic gains. In a city where only 46 percent of youth graduate from high school, Nazareth students are also helping elementary students prepare for college. Last year, 40 Nazareth graduate students taught math and reading skills to elementary school students and hosted a campus tour that exposed young participants to college classes, and future employment opportunities.
More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees, can be found at nationalservice.gov.