Loras Students' Service Honored with National Award

BY Angie Fitzpatrick

During the 2008-09 academic year 1,067 Loras College students devoted 33,000 hours to serving others in their community and around the world. That commitment to improving the lives of others has been recognized as Loras College has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. This is the third straight year that Loras has been named to the Honor Roll and the first year it has made the list with Distinction.

Loras students engaged in service with a large number of local non-profit organizations, including St. Mark Community Center where they comprised 60% of the afterschool program’s volunteers in 2008-09. More than half of these students were required to serve with the program as part of a Multicultural Education class and an Honors class at the College and other students chose to serve as part of the college-sponsored leadership development programs, Federal Community Work Study program and the Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps program.

Students also engaged in service learning courses, like Dr. Dana Livingston’s course that challenges students each year to serve outside of the classroom with the Dubuque County Conservation Board, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Nature Conservancy. The students then complete a final classroom assignment in which they are required to articulate their own personal land ethic. Informed by Catholic social teaching, Loras students are challenged by this experiential learning opportunity to think about the concept of Care for God’s Creation and how the Catholic faith challenges us to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all God’s creation, (Brady, 2008)*.

Only 115 colleges and universities across the nation were named to the 2009 Honor Roll with Distinction. 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.

“Loras is proud to be named to the Honor Roll with Distinction for service efforts in 2008-09,” said Loras College President Jim Collins. “This means Loras joins a small group of institutions across the nation recognized as the top tier of applicants for this prestigious national award.”

Today’s Loras students are making a great impact on the world already—just imagine what they will do in the future.

*Essential Catholic Social Thought, Brady, Orbis Books
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