Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Launched in 2006 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs. 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.
“I am especially appreciative of the hard work and dedication of every student, staff and faculty member who makes service a regular part of their lives,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “Together, these efforts make a tremendous difference. Recognition such as this affirms the power each individual has to make a positive impact.”
Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of the Corporation, who recently presented the Convocation Address at HWS, commended the Colleges’ commitment to service. “As members of the Classes 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 and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions.” A number of HWS graduates are now moving on to assignments with Teach for America, AmeriCorps, City Year VISTA and the Peace Corps.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are committed to providing students with academic and co-curricular service learning opportunities in Geneva, across the nation and at many study abroad sites. Through such opportunities, students meet identified community needs and engage in service as part of their academic courses and programs, as well as making service an integral part of their lives. The HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, through a program called Compass, helps students become civically engaged, leading to graduates who have a lifelong commitment to justice, social consciousness, and the promotion of continuous, effective change.
“We appreciate having been recognized for the institutional priority that Hobart and William Smith Colleges place on community service and civic engagement,” says Katie Flowers, the director of the Colleges’ Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. “Accolades like this really reflect the wonderful relationship between the Colleges and its community partners who have done so much to mentor HWS students.”
Each year, HWS students contribute more than 139,000 hours of service and engagement to local, national and international communities.
In addition, Hobart and William Smith Colleges are honored to be among the 28 baccalaureate colleges selected for the 2010 Community Engagement Classification designation by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2010, HWS were ranked No. 17 in the category of “Small Colleges and Universities” on the Peace Corps’ annual rankings of Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools. The Colleges were also named 17th overall among the nation’s liberal arts colleges in the area of service by Washington Monthly in its 2010 “College Guide” rankings.
Many HWS faculty members build service experiences into their coursework, providing opportunities for rich experiential learning and engagement with the local community. During the first-year orientation, all incoming students participate in a Day of Service, working alongside fellow students and Geneva community members on a variety of community service projects throughout the local area. More than 30 community agencies partner every year with HWS on youth, literacy, environment and civic projects.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 511 were named to the Honor Roll, 114 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 11 were identified as finalists, and six received the Presidential Award.
A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a nine percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting their efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community.
Currently chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Community Service, Gearan has guided and expanded the Colleges’ commitment to public service. He headed the Peace Corps before accepting the HWS presidency in 1999, and currently serves on the boards of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and The Partnership of Public Service. He is also a member of the Leadership Council of ServiceNation. He is the past chair of both the Annapolis Group and the National Campus Compact.