LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University has been named to the first-ever President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizing select schools for distinguished community service and Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
The Honor Roll is co-sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. More than 500 colleges nationwide applied for the Honor Roll in its inaugural year with 141 receiving recognition.
"Bucknell was honored for its work locally and for our efforts to help those in the Gulf Coast region," said Janice Butler, director of the Office of Service-Learning at Bucknell.
Local volunteer programs included the Bucknell Buddies tutoring project in Lewisburg, with 120 college students helping elementary students with math and reading, and the Community Harvest hot meal program in Milton, serving about 150 to 200 guests each Monday evening at St. Andrew's Church. Assisting the elderly, working at animal rescue programs, helping area merchants, raising money for AIDs, leukemia, and Alzheimer's research, and performing local clean-ups are just some of the ways that more than 2,600 students volunteered time last academic year, according to Assistant Dean of Students Amy Badal.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Bucknell sent a delegation of 25 volunteers in January to Waveland, Miss., ground zero for Katrina impact, to help families affected by the hurricane. This December, another group of volunteers is slated to work in St. Bernard's Parish, La., a community across the river from New Orleans where 100 percent of the homes and businesses were flooded when the levees broke and were breached by the storm surge.
"There's a popular misconception that young people today don't care and don't get involved," said Butler. "Our experience at Bucknell is that students really are engaged and want to make a difference."
National Honor Roll
The national Honor Roll program is designed to encourage and increase public awareness of community service by college students and to recognize and promote exemplary programs and effective practices in higher education community service. This year, a focus was placed on recognizing efforts to help in the aftermath of Katrina.
Nationally, six colleges and universities received top recognition for extraordinary community service: three for aiding hurricane victims along the Gulf Coast and three for helping close neighbors.
The President's Award for Hurricane Relief went to Jackson State University, Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Elon University of North Carolina, California State University – Monterey Bay, and Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis, received the President's Award for outstanding community service.
"Higher education is a powerful engine of civic engagement and is central to achieving the President's vision of active citizens and connected communities," said Stephen Goldsmith, chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency tasked with fostering an ethic of volunteerism and service in America. "We applaud America's college students and the universities they attend for stepping up to help people in need."
More than 1.1 million students from Honor Roll schools participated in local community service activities. More than 219,000 students provided hurricane relief, with college students providing nearly 2.3 million service hours volunteering in Hurricane Katrina relief.
Community service programs and activities conducted by Honor Roll schools included mentorship programs for foster children, literacy tutoring for preschool children in underserved communities, medical and other professional services, homebuilding through Habitat for Humanity, and neighborhood cleanup programs.
Posted Oct. 20, 2006