Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, TN
General Community Service
Founded on its commitment to service, Carson-Newman College seeks to honor the five ideals celebrated on its seal and throughout the college’s history—truth, beauty, goodness, justice, and courage. Over the past five years, the college has worked to institutionalize service across the campus community through the formation of the Bonner Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, the implementation of a service-learning quality enhancement plan (QEP), and the development of Community Connections (CommConn), a group of students working to facilitate campus-wide participation in service.
The Jefferson County and Appalachian community where Carson-Newman is located faces challenges in the areas of economic development and education—unemployment peaked at 15 percent in 2010; 16 percent of the local population lives below the poverty level, and 25 percent have less than a high school diploma. The students, faculty, and staff at Carson-Newman have channeled their efforts to address these needs. Currently, over 75 percent of the Carson-Newman student body is engaged in service, with over 40 percent contributing more than 10 hours per month.
Carson-Newman Campus Ministries founded a local poverty relief organization, Appalachian Outreach, and has continued to support the program for the past 28 years. Each year, Campus Ministries provides funding, office space, and volunteers. In the 2010-2011 academic year, more than 700 student volunteers assisted with building 40 houses, supported 150 military families, and served 15,600 meals.
Carson-Newman also leverages its resources to support elementary and high school after-school programs for at-risk youth. Through BOOST, college students provide educational programming for elementary-aged students living in the county’s public housing. The Journey program is focused on high school students who have been involved with the juvenile court for truancy or minor offenses. College student volunteers consult with the Education, Counseling, and Psychology departments’ faculty to deliver educational programming, focused on reducing recidivism for Journey program participants. Sixty-five percent of elementary-aged participants in this program saw an increase in academic grades and 96 percent of the high school program participants have no further truancy issues.
The college’s Bonner Scholars Program engages 50 student leaders each year as campus/community liaisons. Scholars make a multi-year commitment to support local non-profit organizations by serving 10 hours per week during the academic year and 40 hours per week during summers. Bonner Scholars also support the college community in its efforts to create a culture of service that encourages every member of the student body, faculty, and staff to serve.
*The estimated dollar value of volunteer time for 2010 is $21.36 per hour according to the Independent Sector.