Penn State Harrisburg 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 faculty and staff to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using skills gained in their classrooms.
Among the examples of Penn State Harrisburg student projects benefiting the community are: Spring Break trips to Mississippi to assist Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts; an adopt-a-highway project; clothing and food drives to benefit local organizations; spring and fall blood drives; Earth Day activities; a “Boobies Ball” to raise funds for breast cancer awareness; a fund drive for Haitian relief; participation in THON; and Information Sciences and Technology student creations of web sites for local nonprofits.
Current research suggests an increased enthusiasm for service among college students. In 2005, the Higher Education Research Institute reported that two-thirds of entering college students believed it was very important to help others, which is the highest percentage in the last 25 years.
College students not only do “nice” things when they volunteer; they do necessary things to help build and improve our communities. The Independent Sector, a coalition of corporations, foundations, and private voluntary organizations, valued volunteering at $18.77 per hour in 2006. With college students volunteering more than 297 million hours that year (a total of $5.6 billion), the value of and college student commitment to volunteering is greater than ever.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student population in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service learning.
Of the 58 Pennsylvania colleges and universities selected, five others are located in the midstate.