For the fifth year in a row, Southern Arkansas University has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.
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.
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. SAU highlighted three service projects in its application for the 2012 Honor Roll award. Those projects included providing “charity trees” to local non-profit organizations at Christmas; National Night Out, an outreach event sponsored by the University Police Department, and the Angel Tree project, a service to provide gifts for underprivileged children at Christmas. SAU officials reported a total of 250,620 community service hours performed by students, faculty, and staff in 2011.
“I am extremely proud of our students for this outstanding accomplishment. To be the only institution in Arkansas to be designated on the 2012 Honor Roll with Distinction confirms how special our students are and how committed they are to community service activities,” said Dr. Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs.
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, 3.2 million college students dedicated more than 307 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.4 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 oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.