The Corporation for National and Community Service named Western Carolina University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll on Monday, Feb. 11, for exemplary service-learning efforts and leadership in building a “culture of civic engagement.”
“Service learning that improves the quality of our students’ education while benefiting the people of our region is at the very heart of what this university is all about, and I am proud to see those efforts recognized at the national level,” said WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo. “To be on the honor roll says that we are moving in the right direction. We will continue to improve our abilities in service learning and engagement.”
Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition higher education institutions can achieve for commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees were chosen based on factors such as scope and innovativeness 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.
During the 12-month period ending June 30, 2007, the service period considered for this year’s award, 7,300 students at WCU completed 38,500 hours of community service, and 2,500 of those students participated as part of their academic courses, said Glenn Bowen, director of service learning.
As part of Make a Difference Day, the university’s Jacob Medford Service Learning Scholars served as site leaders and coordinated social activities for residents of Mountain Trace Nursing Home in Webster, and assisted with the Pumpkinfest cultural festival in Franklin and a fundraising kickoff for Sylva’s Bridge Park Project.
Also during the year, students provided 5,500 hours of community service through the North Carolina Activating Citizenship through Service (NC-ACTS) AmeriCorps Program; organized a campus Relay For Life that raised $21,000 for the American Cancer Society; and mobilized 622 volunteers for the Tuckaseigee River Cleanup, which helped North Carolina Campus Compact exceed a goal of mobilizing 500 volunteers statewide for National and Global Youth Service Day.
“We appreciate and value this recognition,” said Bowen. “It is emblematic of our institution’s commitment to community service as a vehicle for civic engagement. Our faculty, staff and especially our students are to be commended for their participation and support of our community service initiatives.”
Carol Burton, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies, said Western’s inclusion on the President’s Honor Roll is a testament to “the outstanding work accomplished by Dr. Glenn Bowen, his staff and our students, and community partners reap the benefits of their efforts.”
Provost Kyle Carter also said he was extremely pleased to see Western receive the honor.
“This award recognizes the work and effort of a lot of people – members of our faculty; Glenn Bowen, who leads service learning efforts at Western; and Bob Caruso, who retired last year as vice chancellor for student affairs,” said Carter. “Bob promoted service learning at Western, and his foresight and vision enabled us to receive this award.”
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is jointly sponsored by the corporation’s Learn and Serve America Program, and the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that works to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. The corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service learning in institutions of higher education.
For more information WCU’s Center for Service Learning, contact Glenn Bowen at (828) 227-7234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.