McKendree Makes President’s Community Service Honor Roll
Highest federal recognition a university can receive for volunteerism, service learning
Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University’s commitment to civic responsibility has earned it a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the sixth time in seven years. It is 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 (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education admitted 690 colleges and universities in 2013 for their impact on issues from neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. All recipients are listed at http://www.nationalservice.gov/about/initiatives/honorroll.asp.
Launched by the CNCS in 2006, the recognition was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The CNCS oversees the initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based the scope and innovation of their service projects, the extent to which service-learning is part of the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable outcomes.
Last year, 23,623 service hours were given by 2,231 McKendree students. A total of 14,000 hours were provided by just over 600 students enrolled in service-learning courses. More than 25 courses link service to academics, and scholarships are available to high school students who have demonstrated significant volunteerism.
Since 1994, sociology professor Lyn Huxford has directed the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service on campus, where students coordinate weekly service programs at youth centers, nursing homes and animal shelters. McKendree’s student outreach benefits dozens of local agencies and activities including food banks, the Special Olympics, the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis, and Bridge the Divide, an equestrian program for developmentally disabled children.
Currently two groups of students and faculty members are preparing for an “alternative spring break” to Jamaica and a mission trip to Detroit from March 10 to 17. They will spend their break helping to build and repair homes, preparing gardens, and reading to school children.
In a statement issued March 5, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority. Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience.”
McKendree University ranks among the top quarter of regional universities nationwide in the 2013 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” report. It is also a College of Distinction and one of among “America’s 100 Best College Buys.”