WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service announce the Service Year + Higher Ed Innovation Challenge. All post-secondary education institutions are invited to participate in the challenge running from January 15 to April 15, 2015. Each college or university entrant will compete for a prize to support the planning and creation of new education-affiliated service year positions. Lumina Foundation is supporting the prize. The challenge seeks to promote innovative ideas related to the integration of learning and service during the college experience. There will be three categories of entrants - public, private, and community colleges - with each category winner receiving $30,000. Additionally, an Audience Choice Award winner will receive a $10,000 prize.
More information about the challenge can be found at
Eligibility and Applications
To be eligible for the challenge, institutions must design a service year program that will result in academic credit, meet Service Year exchange certification criteria, be designed for sustainability, have the support of the institution's leadership, and provide a model for other similar post-secondary institutions. Applications can be submitted online starting January 15 through March 6 at http://www.sychallenge.org/apply/.
Finalists and Judges
Finalists will be announced on March 13. Finalists will be invited to present their program concepts in person to a panel of judges, including potential funders, during an all-day event on April 15 at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. Esteemed leaders participating as judges for the Challenge include Holly Zanville, Strategy Director at Lumina Foundation; Maureen Curley, former President of Campus Compact; Harris Wofford, formerly US Senator, Special Assistant to President Kennedy, and the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service under President Clinton; Alan Khazei, Co-Founder of City Year, Founder & CEO of Be the Change, and Co-Chair, Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute; Bill Basl, Director of AmeriCorps; and Lattie Coor, Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, and Former President of Arizona State University and University of Vermont.
The Challenge will be hosted by John Bridgeland, former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, Member, White House Council for Community Solutions under President Obama, and Co-Chair, Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute; and Shirley Sagawa, Chief Service Officer of the National Conference on Citizenship and former Deputy Chief of Staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton. Media will also be invited to attend the event.
"Today, we are challenging the nation's colleges and universities to innovate around the idea that a service year, aligned with programs of study, should become part of what it means to be educated in America," said Jamie Merisotis, president & CEO of Lumina Foundation. "All learning should count — including a service year — toward a high-quality postsecondary credential with value in the workplace. Our hope is that this prize will unleash innovative models in higher education across our nation."
"Service and higher education go hand in hand," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Many institutions of higher learning are enlisting AmeriCorps to provide service opportunities that help their students serve with community leaders to solve local problems. We are proud to support this new public-private partnership that will encourage additional service-focused initiatives at colleges and universities."
John Bridgeland, co-chair of the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute, said, "With leadership and support from Lumina Foundation, innovative colleges and universities will be able to harness the energy of this generation of students to serve. The integration of a service year into institutions of higher learning will prepare future leaders to get big things done for our country."
"As preeminent civic leaders, the higher ed community influences how young people engage in communities today and throughout their lives. We are honored to work with these leaders to help make service years widespread and deeply impacting," said Ilir Zherka, Executive Director of the National Conference on Citizenship.
Application materials and more information on the challenge can be found on the website here: http://www.sychallenge.org/
Portions of the April 15 event will be live streamed on the Aspen Institute website. Event updates will be featured at www.twitter.com/aspeninstitute and www.twitter.com/franklinproj. A limited number of press passes are available.
About the Challenge Partners
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina's outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025.
National Conference on Citizenship is a congressionally chartered organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. We pursue our mission through a cutting-edge civic health initiative, an innovative national service project, and cross-sector conferences. At the core of our belief is that every person has the ability to help their community and country thrive.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. CNCS also administers the Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Franklin Project is a new venture by the Aspen Institute to marshal the best case for a voluntary civilian counterpart to military service in the United States. At the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, General Stanley McChrystal called for large-scale civilian national service to engage more Americans in serving community and country. The Franklin Project believes national service can and should become a common expectation and common opportunity for all Americans to strengthen our social fabric and solve our most pressing national challenges. To realize this vision, the Franklin Project engages outstanding Americans from the private sector, higher education, government, the military, the faith community, the philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations, to develop innovative policy ideas and to build momentum around advancing a new vision of civilian service for the 21st century.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org
SOURCE The Aspen Institute Franklin Project