Wright State wins national honor for student community service

For the fourth year in a row, Wright State has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for the university’s support of volunteering, student community service, service learning and civic engagement.

Wright State is cited by the Corporation for National and Community Service for the university’s strong institutional commitment to service and campus-community partnerships that produce measurable results for the region. Only 113 institutions across the country and six in Ohio received such an honor.

“The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities,” said Wright State President David R. Hopkins. “This award is a tribute to our faculty, students and staff across the campus.”

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006.

“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”

A total of 11,511 Wright State students were involved in community service and academic service-learning during the 2011–12 school year, resulting in 527,583 service hours.

“The problems and issues our communities face are our problems and issues,” said Cathy Sayer, director of service learning at Wright State. “We are just working together with other community members to make this a better place for all of us to live.”

Examples of student community service that helped earn the recognition include:

  • About 440 students from a variety of service-learning courses participated in Wright State’s Raider Academic Coaches program, providing 6,034 hours of tutoring to children in Dayton Public Schools.
  • Social work majors and other student volunteers work at  Wright State’s Friendship Food Pantry providing emergency food and referral services to students in need, helping them to stay in school and meet their educational goals.
  • The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Association (NLASA) supports the professional development of students in the NLASA certificate program.
  • Wright STEPP enhances the development of at-risk youth in grades 7–10 underrepresented in the STEM disciplines to improve their preparation for post-secondary education.
  • For 34 summers through Horizons in Medicine, Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine has offered local high school students, primarily from disadvantaged/minority backgrounds, the chance to experience the science and delivery of health care that forms the foundation of a career in medicine.

Wright State’s community service is not limited to student activities. Staff members instituted a “We Serve U” program and have incorporated service projects into their staff development days.

The Corporation for National and Community Service 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 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.

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