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CSB, SJU both named to service honor roll

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December 17, 2014

CSB student Jackie Kemnic dishes out the food donated through the CSB Community Kitchen Program.

The SJU golf team participates in a Kids Against Hunger food-packaging event. From left: Josh Polingo '18 and Drew Mahowald '18.

Both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University were named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

It is the fourth consecutive year both schools have been named to the honor roll, which was released Dec. 8 in Washington, D.C.

A total of 766 higher education institutions were named to the honor roll.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll began in 2006 after thousands of college students traveled to the Gulf Coast to support relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The honor roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges.

In 2013-14, 273 CSB students and 201 SJU students completed a service-learning project. The 474 total students completed 9,394 hours of service.

"The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are committed to service and this recognition at the Presidential level is a testament to that fact," said Laura Hammond, interim director of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at CSB and SJU. "In terms of engaging students in meaningful service opportunities, as well as our commitment to bettering the local and global community, programming and pedagogy at CSB and SJU is built around the Benedictine values that are central to our work and mission.

"Both inside and outside of the classroom, CSB and SJU seeks mutually beneficial partnerships with the community, so that faculty members, students and staff can actively be involved in their community and contribute to the betterment of the common good," Hammond said. "The Institutions view service as an invaluable means to engage students in experiential learning that deepens their understanding of classroom material, increases their sense of social responsibility and pushes them to grow as a civic and community leader."

In their applications, CSB and SJU highlighted several service initiatives during 2013-14.

  • CSB Robert and Marie Jackson Fellows Program: 10 students from CSB and SJU contributed more than 4,000 hours of service over the summer. More than 5,000 people were served.
  • Bonner Leader Program: 26 students from CSB and SJU served 8-10 hours a week at various community sites throughout Central Minnesota. They also organized a Human Trafficking Awareness Week and hosted a Halloween party for youth with special needs in partnership with United Cerebral Palsy of Central Minnesota.
  • General Community Service: 179 CSB and SJU students enrolled in Education 111: Teaching in a Diverse World engaged in at least 20 hours of service in the local community over the course of a semester. They contributed more than 4,200 hours serving youth. An additional 63 CSB and SJU students enrolled in two classes in Exercise Science and Sports Studies classes contributed over 1,200 hours in the community.
  • Service Learning in Port Elizabeth, South Africa: 28 CSB and SJU students engaged in six hours per week of academic service at one of three sites while on their study abroad trip to South Africa - the House of Resurrection, an orphanage affected by HIV/AIDS; Pendla Primary School; and Missionvale Care Center, dedicated to providing quality care and support to the community.
  • The Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at SJU: In addition to five student employees, the center's 15-20 regular volunteers assist with activities such as highway clean-up and event staffing. Those students served an estimated 4,700 people.

In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.