Four Colleges and Universities Earn Presidential Honor for Community Service

Dec 08, 2014, 13:16 ET from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) today announced the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, including the four recipients of the President's Award, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

The 2014 Presidential Award winners are: California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.; Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa; University of Nebraska Omaha in Omaha, Neb.; and Wheelock College in Boston, Mass. The institutions were recognized for their achievements in general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity, or education.

"Service and higher education go hand in hand," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement."

In addition to the Presidential Award winners, a total of 766 higher education institutions were named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Of this number, 16 were named as finalists, with four in each category.

CNCS, the federal agency for volunteering and service, has administered the Award since 2006 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, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

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. 

This year's Presidential Award winners are:

California State University, Dominguez Hills; Carson, Calif.
General Community Service

Sixty-five percent of students engage in service learning through the formal curriculum and the university's service-learning hub, the Center for Service Learning, Internships, & Civic Engagement (SLICE). As freshmen, all students who elect a First Year Experience with a service component participate in courses with defined community service elements throughout their collegiate career.

The finalists for the general community service category are:  Central College in Pella, Iowa; Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.; University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in North Dartmouth, Mass.; and Wheelock College in Boston, Mass.

Loras College; Dubuque, Iowa
Interfaith Community Service

Through the "Launch into Loras" orientation and the first-year fall "Modes of Inquiry" seminar course, students are immersed in service projects in the Dubuque community from the moment they step onto campus.  The Loras College service learning program began in 2006 and in 2012 the College strengthened its Interfaith Community Service efforts with designated Campus Ministry staff.

The finalists in the interfaith community service category are: Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn.; Seattle University in Seattle, Wash.; University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif.; and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa.

University of Nebraska Omaha; Omaha, Neb.
Economic Opportunity

A distinguishing characteristic of the University of Nebraska at Omaha is its commitment to community engagement through both coursework and co-curricular activities. Today, 42 percent of the student body participates in service-learning and volunteer projects. Over 14 years, academic service-learning has grown from seven courses with 100 students, to more than 160 courses with over 2,600 students each year.

Finalists in the economic opportunity category are: Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.; Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio; and Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.

Wheelock College; Boston, Mass.
Education

Academic service-learning and exposure to a variety of cultures is an integral part of a Wheelock education, beginning right from students' first year on campus. Wheelock hosts trips to a variety of international and domestic locations to immerse students in local culture as they perform community service projects. The Wheelock Jumpstart site, funded by AmeriCorps, has the largest percentage of student participation of any college or university in the Boston area and continues to be cited as a national model for effective literacy programs. Today 85 percent of Wheelock students participate in community service activities.

Finalists in the education category are: Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.; Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Ill.; Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss.; and Springfield College in Springfield, Mass.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than four million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and other programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

SOURCE Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)