PSU Named to Presidential Honor Roll For Community Service

February 28th, 2009 by Adam
PSU student volunteer
PSU student Stephanie Caron washes windows at the Pemi Youth Center in Plymouth as part of her community service volunteer efforts.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. –– The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Plymouth State University with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll “With Distinction” for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities. PSU is one of only 83 schools nationwide to achieve this level of recognition in 2008.

“Every year hundreds of Plymouth State University students commit thousands of volunteer hours for community service,” said PSU Provost Julie Bernier. “Not to be recognized for these efforts, but because giving back to the community is something they care about. It’s part of the Plymouth State culture. We are proud to be one of only 83 schools in the country selected to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction and to have our students recognized for their outstanding work.”

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection 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 academic service-learning courses.

The “With Distinction” honors were for PSU’s commitment to helping youth from disadvantaged circumstances through the service program College for Every Student which is designed to lower school dropout rates and prepare students for college.

Beginning in the summer 2007, PSU collaborated with Newfound Regional High School (NRHS) in this endeavor. The essence of the College for Every Student Program is the engagement of each student in three high-impact practices that enable them to take steps toward college. Research confirms that student engagement in CFES correlates with higher aspirations and improved academic performance. Over the last two years, for example, 96 percent of CFES high school seniors have gone on to college.

The Corporation for National and Community Service also recognized PSU for the following service programs and efforts:

PSU’s Alternative Spring Break—-an increasingly popular service program at PSU with students who are looking for a new way to contribute their time to communities. Two separate groups of students participated in Habitat for Humanity trips over Spring Break last year. One was coordinated under the traditional Alternative Spring Break title, while the second was spearheaded by the PSU Social Work Club. The ASB trip went to Slidell, La., while the Social Work Club worked with the Corpus Christi, Tx. chapter.

A third group of students took an ASB trip to Chicago and worked with the Union League Boys and Girls Club.

“The student leader felt passionate about working with an under-served youth population in Chicago and felt the experience would be great for her fellow students,” said Linda Corriveau PSU Community Service Coordinator. “The urban setting was a great experience for our students, especially since PSU is based in a rural setting.”

The Angel Tree Project-—an annual holiday tradition at Plymouth State. Student Coordinators work with area agencies to gather names of area youth, whom without the Angel Tree Project, may not receive a holiday gift.

PSU’s Community Service Center-—coordinates the University’s part-time AmeriCorp program. Through the end of June 2008, the students had each completed 1/2 to 2/3 of their 300-hour commitments. The students are able to create their own path of service and focus on areas of interest to them.

PSU Volunteers-—a community service and volunteer based student run organization. Students are regular contributors at sites such as Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Pemi Youth Center, the New Hampshire Humane Society, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine.

PSU Volunteers also participate in one-time service activities such as Habitat for Humanity build days, the Cancer Walk, the March of Dimes Walk, trail clean-ups, the Polar Express, and Global Youth Service Day.

PSU Volunteers is well known in the community and is one of the first calls made when the community is looking for young & energetic volunteers.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute PSU for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the Corporation honored six New Hampshire schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service-learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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