Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction 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. Hobart and William Smith are among only eight institutions in New York named to the Honor Roll with Distinction.
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, 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.
“This honor acknowledges the hard work and dedication of every student, staff and faculty member who, through their commitment to civic engagement, makes a positive impact in our community,” says President Mark D. Gearan.
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. 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. Each year, HWS students, faculty and staff contribute 190,000 hours of service and engagement to local, national and international communities. A number of HWS graduates have moved on to assignments with Teach for America, AmeriCorps, City Year VISTA and the Peace Corps.
“We appreciate having been recognized for the institutional priority that Hobart and William Smith Colleges places on being a strong partner with Geneva,” says Katie Flowers, the director of the Colleges’ Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. She notes this year’s application highlighted the student generated Success for Geneva’s Children 2011 Databook (with advising from Professor of Sociology Wes Perkins and Success Executive Director Stu Einstein), Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer’s HWS Summer Academy, and the inaugural Summer of Service internship program.
“Accolades like this celebrate the wonderful relationship between the Colleges and its community partners who have done so much to mentor HWS students,” says Flowers.
The Corporation for National and Community Service admitted a total of 642 schools to colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award. Campuses named to this year’s Honor Roll reported that nearly one million of their students engaged in service learning and more than 1.6 million participated in other forms of community service, serving a total of more than 105 million hours.
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.
This is the third consecutive year the Colleges have been named to the Honor Roll; they have been included five times since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2006. 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 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.
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.