The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Buena Vista University (BVU) today with a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America's communities.
"To be named to the Honor Roll speaks highly of our students' commitment to making their communities - and the world - a better place," says BVU President Fred Moore.
"Last year [BVU] students logged over 10,000 hours of community service, which is great, especially for a campus our size," said Ashley Farmer, director of community service at BVU.
Over the last year, 600 students at BVU participated in projects ranging from the community spring cleaning tradition of "Buenafication Day" to opportunities provided through the service organization AmeriCorps. Many students participate in the Alternative Week of Off-Site Learning (AWOL), in which students take service trips during spring break. Through AWOL, students in 2008 worked in an orphanage in Jamaica, border ministries and construction in Mexico, and the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, whose programs for helping the urban poor were part of the subject matter of the 2006 movie the Pursuit of Happyness. Some BVU professors also incorporate community betterment into their curriculums through the concept of "service learning." For example, BVU Spanish students have lent their multi-lingual communication skills to local school districts.
This is the second time BVU has been named to the Honor Roll. The school was previously recognized in 2007.
Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including 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.
"In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges," says Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. "We salute Buena Vista University for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others."
The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.
"I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day - as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others," says American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.
Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation's Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America's college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.