Kent State University has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“Kent State is proud of its community service programs made up of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members,” says Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton. “The university believes strongly in the tradition of giving back and engaging students beyond the classroom. Through community service opportunities, our students develop leadership skills and the understanding that individuals can indeed make a difference in their communities. In 2007-2008, Kent State students contributed more than $600,000 to communities through volunteer service programs.”
Three of Kent State’s campuses were named to the list.
For the fourth consecutive year, Kent State University at Stark was named to the honor roll for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth. Dr. Andrea Adolph , assistant professor of English and service-learning coordinator for Kent State Stark, reported that eight professors led projects with more than 300 participating students during the 2008-09 academic year.
The projects included elementary school tutoring/mentoring; implementation of a nutrition fair for middle school students; serving residents of a seniors facility; and coordination of resources for Planned Parenthood, the Domestic Violence Project, the Stark County Hunger Task Force and the Wilderness Center. One group of students created videos to assist Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio advocate for comprehensive sexuality education in Ohio. Samples of their work are available at http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&contributorid=35852984.
The Kent State University at Tuscarawas Service-Learning Program also was highlighted. The program provides the framework for students to serve the community as part of their coursework by incorporating worthwhile, real-world experiences into their academic classes. Dr. Nicole Willey, associate professor of English, has coordinated the program since its inception four years ago. The program has been named to the honor roll for three consecutive years.
Participation for the 2008-09 academic year, (the year for which we are being recognized) included 12 faculty members teaching 550 students in 25 course sections. Local organizations that partner with Kent State Tuscarawas on the program include Friends of the Homeless, Even Start, Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses; law students volunteered at legal clinics; and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.
“Congratulations to Kent State University and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” says 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.”
The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
For a full list of Honor Roll recipients, visit http://www.learnandserve.gov/pdf/10_0225_lsa_honorrollfulllist.pdf.
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. Each year, the corporation 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.
The corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than 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.