For the fourth consecutive year, Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Hobart and William Smith are among only 10 institutions in New York named to the Honor Roll with Distinction.
“Our students, faculty and staff have made civic engagement at the local, national and international levels a priority in the classroom and in their personal lives,” says Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. “The ongoing recognition by the Corporation for National and Community Service of these efforts is a significant pride point for the institution.”
Launched in 2006 by the CNCS, the Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs, achieving meaningful outcomes for their communities. Honorees are 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.
Civic engagement is at the center of the HWS educational experience. Students contribute more than 80,000 hours of service and more than $110,000 in fundraising dollars to local, national and international non-profit endeavors. All students participate in local community service activities during their four years. Annually, Alternative Spring Break, through which students travel off campus and do service work together, is one of the most popular programs offered by HWS. The six different trips offered this year have a record number of participants. Among them is a trip to Millville, N.J., in direct response to Hurricane Sandy. In addition to engaging in service and service-learning projects throughout their college careers, many HWS students choose to continue in service positions following graduation, earning placements with such programs as City Year and Teach for America, or volunteering for the Peace Corps.
“The Honor Roll designation highlights the partnership between HWS and the Geneva Community. The application detailed the planning of and fundraising for the Geneva Community Lakefront Playground which was constructed with 150 volunteers in October,” says Katie Flowers, director for the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. “Additional collaborations that the Corporation recognized included the Geneva 2020 initiative which led to the inception of ‘College 101′ days for all sixth and ninth graders in Geneva, and a community based research project that paired two research teams from Professor Harris’ Senior Sociology Seminar with the Geneva Human Rights Commission and Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes.”
A total of 690 higher education institutions were named to this year’s Honor Roll. Combined, the Honor Roll awardees engaged 3.1 million students in community service for a total of 118 million service hours. That equates to $2.5 billion in value to communities across the country, according to the CNCS.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll 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 on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
The Colleges have been named to the Honor Roll five times since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2006. In its 2012 Liberal Arts Colleges “College Guide” rankings, Washington Monthly ranked Hobart and William Smith eighth in the nation in the category of community service. In addition, HWS have received the Carnegie classification for civic engagement and, in 2012, were named the Business of the Year by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, Hobart and William Smith have also been listed in The Princeton Review‘s “Colleges with a Conscience: An Engaged Student’s Guide to College,” which ranked HWS as one of best institutions for service learning and civic engagement.