Union has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to the local community.
This marks the third straight year the College has earned this honor, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees were chosen based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
The awards were announced in Washington, D.C., recently by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the program in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.
“As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions,” said Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS.
In 2009-10, nearly 1,200 Union students participated in a range of community service projects, representing more than 12,000 hours of service. Volunteers at the Kenney Community Center tutored and read to local children, acted as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and participated in the state Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program (VITA). Since its launch in 2005, the VITA program at Union has secured more than nearly $2 million in cumulative tax refunds for local residents.
New activities included a crisis chat program in which trained students, in conjunction with the United Way, assist callers who are suicidal or distressed; U-ReBloom, where volunteers gather flowers from a variety of campus events and delivers them to local nursing homes, senior residences and hospices; and the formation of a Girl Scout troop.
“Union’s commitment to serving the community is reflected in the College’s strategic plan,” said Angela Tatem, Kenney Center director. “We offer a wide range of opportunities for our students to engage with the local community, and they have responded accordingly. As a result of our outreach efforts, the relationship between the College and the surrounding community remains strong.”