Release Date: Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Charleston, WV – The University of Charleston has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. The honor roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
The Honor Roll recognizes six colleges and universities in the country as Presidential Awardees, 115 schools on the Distinction list (UC's category) and 621 schools as Honor Roll members. UC’s selection was based on 5,098 hours of community service performed by 550 students between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009.
"Congratulations to the University of Charleston and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
Dr. Ed Welch, president of the university, echoed that sentiment, saying, "We're very proud of the contributions of our students, faculty and staff to the economy and the life of the community, and consider it a vital part of the student experience at UC. We're one of only two schools in the state to receive the award 'with distinction.'"
Sarah Beakes, who coordinates and tracks community service projects for UC along with her duties as coordinator of the first-year experience, highlighted projects including the following when she submitted the school's application.
Students staged a "Boxathon" on the river lawn, in which they erected and decorated cardboard boxes and spent the night in them, to make a statement about the number of children who do not have homes. Sponsorship money raised went to "Scottie's Place," where homeless children can come to a camp in West Virginia.
The Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team taught 200 middle school students the Junior Achievement "It's My Business" program. The program included an explanation of entrepreneurship, and used hands-on activities and games to educate the students about filling a need, knowing their customer and product, and being creative and innovative. SIFE students also taught two third-grade classes at Kanawha City Elementary School the Junior Achievement's "Our City" program, designed to provide practical information about businesses, occupations, and the education required for particular occupations.
Accounting students assisted at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, assisting those with low incomes to prepare tax returns and recover the earned income tax credit.
Students from the school of pharmacy hosted a health fair at Liberty Baptist Church in Charleston, taking blood pressures, counseling church members about diabetes and distributing information.
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Each year, the United States, through the Corporation for National and Community Service, invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.
Students at UC continue to contribute to the life of the Kanawha Valley in many ways. Since August, more than 325 students have completed 2,254 additional community service hours, in projects including Toys for Tots, the National Day of Service, the Day of Caring, Make a Difference Day, and the Salvation Army Angel Tree, as well as volunteering for the Union Mission and the Ronald McDonald House. Students are currently organizing and fundraising for "Up all Night," a project benefiting the American Cancer Society, and raising funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
A complete list of honor roll recipients is available at www.learnandserve.gov/about/programs/higher_ed_honorroll.asp.