MC named to President's Honor Roll for service

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Maryville College was recently named to the first President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service. The honor was in recognition of extraordinary volunteer efforts by the school and its students to serve area neighborhoods and Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Maryville and 140 other institutions of higher education were recognized for distinguished service among the nearly 500 schools named to the President’s Honor Roll at the Campus Compact 20th Anniversary on Oct. 17. Schools receiving distinguished service recognition provided exceptional community service over the past year, contributing their time, resources, energy, skills - and intellect - to serve America. The value of services provided by Honor Roll colleges and students was approximately $87 million.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, at least three different groups of Maryville College students, faculty and staff members traveled to the Gulf Coast for hurricane clean-up and rebuilding.

Nearly a dozen students joined the Presbytery of East Tennessee for a mission trip to Biloxi, Miss., over the 2005 Christmas break. A few weeks later, 15 students enrolled in the January Term course PLS200: Leadership in Action, led by MC’s American Humanics Chapter Director Cole Piper, left for several days of volunteering in D’Iberville, Miss. And for the annual Alternative Spring Break, 15 MC students and staff members Preston Fields and Karly Wilkinson boarded vans headed to Pearlington, Miss., for service organized through the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) program.

In addition to sending people to the affected areas, the MC campus community raised more than $10,000 for Red Cross and PDA efforts in Mississippi and Louisiana. Approximately 15 students were trained by the Red Cross to be volunteers at local shelters set up for evacuees in September, and several campus clubs and organizations put together hygiene packs for distribution in the shelters.

"At Maryville College, service is an expectation that faculty, staff and students take seriously and are deeply committed to - whether it is in Blount County, the Gulf Coast or Pakistan," said Vandy Kemp, Maryville College vice president and dean of students. "This award recognizes the fundamental value at Maryville College for making a difference in the community and the world."

Kemp said that MC students had developed life-changing relationships with the people of Pearlington, Miss., and that a second trip to the affected town was planned for the 2007 Spring Break.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is co-sponsored by the Corporation, the Department of
Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The recognition is presented in cooperation with Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 college and university presidents, and supported by all the major national higher education associations.

The award presentations came a day after the Corporation for National and Community Service released a comprehensive study showing college student civic engagement has risen significantly in recent years. The study, which used data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that student volunteering increased approximately 20 percent from 2002 to 2005, and that 3.3 million college students serve their communities and nation. The study showed that college students between ages 16 to 24 are more likely to volunteer than cohorts in that age group who are not enrolled.

Observers have attributed the growth in student service to several causes: the proliferation of high-school and college service-learning classes; an increase in the number of campus offices that link students to volunteer opportunities, and the lingering impact of the September 11 and Hurricane Katrina catastrophes.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is working with other federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to encourage even greater levels of service and civic engagement by college students. Their goal is to increase the number of college students participating in volunteer service to 5 million college students annually by 2010.

The Honor Roll provides more new evidence that the nation is beginning to move toward that level of student civic engagement. More than 1.1 million students from Honor Roll schools participated in local community service activities, and more than 219,000 Honor Roll students provided hurricane relief.

College student community service and civic engagement are key elements of the new five-year strategic plan of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Each year, the Corporation makes a significant investment in building a culture of service on college campuses through Learn and Serve America and AmeriCorps programs at institutions of higher education. In addition to direct grants to support service-learning and engagement of students in their communities, the Corporation has also supported higher education through the more than $1.2 billion in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to AmeriCorps members who complete their service and use their awards to pay for college tuition or to pay back student loans.

To read more about Maryville College students’ contributions to Gulf Coast recovery efforts, visit www.maryvillecollege.edu/news/pubs/focus/summer-2006/volunteer-service.asp.

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