Georgia Perimeter College
Georgia Perimeter College, Decatur, GA
General Community Service Presidential Award
The communities surrounding Georgia Perimeter College’s (GPC) Clarkston and Decatur campuses are among the most underserved in the greater Atlanta area. Each has a multitude of needs—which translate into service-learning opportunities for GPC students.
Throughout 2012, GPC students contributed more than 189,500 service hours to address issues in their community, like education, environmental sustainability, and veteran needs. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance helped engage students and faculty in community projects. Their commitment is valued at $3,862,051.*
In 2012, 150 GPC students accentuated Stone Mountain Park, a popular 3,200-acre attraction just outside of Atlanta. Sixty biology students honored GPC’s service partnership with the park, spending 1,200 hours collecting more than 300 bags of trash and analyzing water quality along several streams feeding into the park’s lake. Forty geography students added another 800 hours creating maps of park trails, while 50 physical education students created activities for hikers and rated the trails according to difficulty.
Back indoors, two English as a second language faculty members and 200 students from GPC provided more than 5,000 hours of service for the Senior Refugee Program at a nearby community center. GPC’s surrounding communities are among the most diverse major resettlement areas in the entire nation, with large Asian and African populations. GPC students help these residents transition to American life, teaching English and literacy skills to approximately 80 refugees and new immigrants.
Refugees and immigrants have another chance to work with GPC students in a nearby community garden—with veterans of the U.S. military. GPC’s veteran students are connected to service opportunities like gardening through the school’s Military Outreach Center, which helps them feel as valued as they did during active duty. AmeriCorps members, who are both veterans and students, also help their peers with study and social support, assistance with resume writing, and referrals to professional counseling if needed.
These programs, among many others at GPC, build on a strong legacy of service that spans nearly 50 years. And that legacy is likely to continue: Approximately 300 classes per semester include a service-learning component. And GPC’s newly formed Office of Quality Enhancement Plan ensures community-based and service-learning remain top priorities under the school’s strategic plan.
GPC’s service learning initiatives make a difference. One theme emerged from surveys of partners: “GPC students helped increase my organization’s capacity to serve the community.”
*(based on rates established by the Independent Sector).