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Berea College receives national recognition for community service, named to 2009 President’s Honor Roll

Berea College has been named to the 2009 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 Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.

“Congratulations to Berea College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said 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.”

Berea College’s Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS) coordinates academic service learning initiatives on campus and 13 on-going outreach programs that serve the larger community. During the 2009-10 year, more than 900 students engaged in community service of some kind through programs sponsored by CELTS, including more than 500 who contributed more than 20 hours a semester.

Programs sponsored by CELTS that involve students include several related to Hunger Awareness and sponsorship of an food drive benefitting the Berea Food Bank. Other programs are the Hispanic Outreach Project serving Spanish-speaking residents in Madison County; Berea College Collegiate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity that partners with the local chapter in constructing low-income housing. Programs serving local elementary through high school youth are Berea Buddies and Teen Mentoring programs modeled after the Big Brother/Big Sisters programs, and several tutoring programs.

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. 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 Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. 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. Click here for a full list of Honor Roll recipients.

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.

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