IUP has been selected for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, recognizing exemplary service efforts, for the fifth consecutive year.
The honor roll is produced by the Corporation for National Community Service in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The most recent honor roll recognizes achievements during the 2011–12 academic year.
Community assistants in "spring training," January 2013: Over 80 students and 16 Office of Housing and Residential Life staff teamed up to make blankets for Project Linus, write notes to soldiers and St. Jude's patients, make necklaces for nursing home patients, and make knit hats for cancer patients. (photo: Nichole Fest)
“This national recognition reflects the university’s continued commitment to our community, to service learning and to helping our students become strong citizens,” James Begany, vice president for Enrollment Management and Communications, said.
According to Begany, the recognition also reflects the hard work of IUP’s Office of Service Learning.
“While members of the office work hard to coordinate and promote service, the philosophy is encouraging our students to take ownership of service projects designed to help the local community.” He used as an example the 2012 Hawk Rock, a 24-hour service event coordinated by the Office of Service Learning but driven entirely by students. The event raised $10,000 for Indiana County agencies that focus on homelessness and hunger: the Community Kitchen, the Indiana County Community Action Program food bank and Pathway Homeless Shelter, and the Family Promise of Indiana County. Hawk Rock 2013 will be held in the fall.
IUP recorded more than 152,685 hours of volunteer service during 2011-12, up from 145,790 hours during the 2010-11 academic year. Measured with the current national minimum wage, the 2011-12 volunteer work hours would be valued at more than $1.1 million. Examples of IUP service projects for 2011-12 were as follows:
In addition to organizing IUP’s community service initiatives, the Office of Service Learning, based in the Career Development Center, coordinates two AmeriCorps programs—Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania and Community Fellows—and supervises the full-time AmeriCorps position.
The Scholars in Service program allows students to enroll as AmeriCorps members on a part-time basis and commit between 300 and 450 hours in an academic year to nonprofit agencies at no cost to the agencies. Since the program began in 2006, students have offered 50,370 hours of service, valued at more than $152,000, to organizations in the community.
The Community Fellows Program, new in the 2010-11 academic year, offers scholarship funding for students to complete more than 300 service hours over the course of an academic year. These students have offered 6,549 hours of service since the program began and have earned scholarships of $22,610.
The Office of Service Learning also coordinates IUP’s federal Serve Study program, which benefits community nonprofit agencies. This program allows qualified students to work up to 25 hours per week for a community organization at no cost to the agency.
During the 2011-12 academic year, 131 students participated in the program, offering nearly 19,500 hours—$141,156 worth of work-study funds—to more than 60 organizations, including area schools.
“The mission of the Office of Service Learning, to promote excellence in professional and personal character development through experiential learning opportunities that bridge the curriculum with community service, fits well with the work of the Career Development Center,” Diane Stipcak, Service Learning coordinator, said.
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.
Institutions are chosen based on 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.