Imagine a problem facing a community—unemployment or homelessness, poverty or environmental degradation—and there is a good chance that a group of college students are finding a way to tackle it. At the Corporation for National and Community Service, we honor these students and their universities with the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
Today, we are honored to announce the recipients of the 2009 Presidential Awards:
General Community Service Awardees
- Lee University, Cleveland, Tennessee
- Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Special Focus: Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances Awardees
- Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia
- Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, New Jersey
- Willamette University, Salem, Oregon
In addition to these outstanding winners, 736 colleges and universities were placed on the Honor Roll, with 115 of these receiving “With Distinction” honors.
The competition was tough – the winners had to demonstrate their level of student participation in service activities; scope, level of effort, innovation and effectiveness of their service projects; and overall institutional support to service-learning and volunteerism.
The importance of service to college students is underscored by one telling statistic: in the 2008-09 academic year, more than three million college students contributed over 300 million hours of service. College students take on community challenges by running after school programs, tutoring at-risk youth, building and weatherizing homes, offering computer classes, restoring natural parks, and much more.
I cannot overstate the important role that colleges and universities play in the broader national service movement. These institutions’ commitment to service can have an impact on students throughout their entire lives.
The Honor Roll is one of many ways that we promote student service-learning and civic engagement. Our Learn and Serve America program works with schools across the country to promote academic achievement and civic responsibility for more than one million students each year, and AmeriCorps annually engages thousands of college students in making a difference in their communities while earning money for their education.
I want to express my sincere congratulations to the recipients of the Presidential Award and the more than 700 additional schools that applied. I encourage every college and university to apply for the 2010 Honor Roll, and to find new and creative ways to engage their students in service throughout the year. Read more about all the colleges and universities that received the Honor Roll.
This blog is cross-posted from the White House Blog.