USD honored nationally for extraordinary community service

VERMILLION, S.D. -- For the third straight year, The University of South Dakota was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

USD’s selection to the honor roll is recognition from the highest levels of the federal government for the University’s commitment to service and civic engagement both on campus and in the United States. USD is one of 742 colleges and universities nationwide recognized for extraordinary community service – and one of four South Dakota institutions to be named to the honor roll. The honor is a reflection of the hard work and dedication from students, faculty and staff members who make service a priority.

This past year, more than 1,000 students from The U participated in service-learning activities through academic classes, including the Interdisciplinary Education and Action (IdEA) Program, the First-Year Experience and individual courses, and through programs such as the Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL) alternative break program. Additionally, close to 1,500 USD students volunteered for community service activities through campus organizations such as Students Enhancing Resources for Vermillion Enrichment (SERVE). All together, USD students contributed more than 48,000 hours to community service projects in 2009.

“Our faculty, staff and students have done and continue to do great things to benefit the community,” explained Jacqueline Lonning, Coordinator of Academic Engagement at USD. “With everyone’s help in promoting community engagement and working to better capture the work being completed, our numbers continue to grow each year.”

Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, through the organization’s Learn and Serve America program, and is sponsored by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, the USA Freedom Corps, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

“Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face,” stated Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”

Honorees for the various award levels were selected based on a series of factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers service-learning courses. The complete honor roll as well as special achievement award winners from the annual meeting can be found at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.