Westminster College has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth year in a row. This high federal recognition is bestowed on a college or university for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.
"This past academic year, we completed nearly 11,000 hours of community service," says Jill Olson, Program Director for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. "Our focus was on the Callaway County United Way, which funds thirteen local agencies."
Westminster is known for its commitment to community service and leadership training. Some of last year's major projects were Penny Drives for United Way, New Student Service Day, Cardboard City, Poverty Simulation, Into the Streets, Martin Luther King Day of Letter Writing, Spring Cleaning Haiti Relief fundraisers, Homecoming Food Drive for SERVE, Inc. and Blue Jay Buddies mentoring/tutoring program.
The Westminster community will focus on service projects and social justice programs around children and youth during the next academic year.
Launched in 2006, the President's Honor Roll recognizes institutions of higher education that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs. The honor roll includes 621 different schools. Honorees are selected on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers service learning courses.
"Congratulations to Westminster College for its dedication to service and commitment to improving their local community," says Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector. In 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Each year the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs. The education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college and through support of training, research, recognition and other initiatives to spur college service.
The Corporation 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.
It 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 Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
For more information, interested parties may visit www.nationalservice.gov.