As colleges across the country honor their graduates this commencement season, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education honor the nation's leading colleges and universities, students, and faculty members, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning. Loras College was admitted to the Honor Roll wtih Distinction for innovative work in building strategic partnerships to serve through academic coursework, extra-curricular service and through leveraging work study and Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps and VISTA programs to engage its students in more than 48,000 hours of service last year.
"Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community," said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of CNCS. "We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities."
"Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap," said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for postsecondary education. "The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact - both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we'll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead."
"Loras College is proud to be among the ranks of just 110 colleges and universities in the nation to receive this honor with distinction this year," stated Maggie Baker, Service Learning Coordinator at the College.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 schools to colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.
On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2010, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.6 billion. Business and law students offer tax preparation and legal services, and college student volunteers provide meals, create parks, rebuild homes after disasters, conduct job training, run senior service programs, and much more.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a strong partner with the nation's colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. Last year, CNCS provided more than $200 million in support to institutions of higher education, including grants to operate service programs and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayment. CNCS is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curricula. Through these programs, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) 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 Barack Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.