CSB and SJU recognized on President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

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March 20, 2013

For the third time in as many years, 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.

CSB received additional recognition by being named to the Honor Roll with Distinction for the third straight year. The awards were announced March 4 in Washington, D.C.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, recognizes schools for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. A total of 690 higher education institutions were named to the 2013 Honor Roll. Of this number, 113 received the recognition of Honor Roll with Distinction, 14 were identified as finalists and five received the Presidential Award.

Honorees are chosen based on a series of 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 service.

During the 2011-12 academic year, approximately 950 CSB students contributed an estimated 15,000 hours of service, and approximately 500 SJU students contributed an estimated 8,000 hours of service.

"The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University are committed to serving with our local and global partners - throughout Central Minnesota and around the world," said Marah Jacobson-Schulte, director of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement at CSB and SJU. "Our students seek opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, where they can be actively involved in their community and contribute to benefitting the common good. They do so while deepening their understanding of their academic work and further developing a personal sense of social responsibility and values-based leadership. CSB and SJU faculty and staff are dedicated to employing innovative experiential pedagogy, where learning and commitment to improving the human condition become a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership."

In their applications, CSB and SJU highlighted many of their service initiatives during the 2011-12 academic year:

CSB Marie and Robert Jackson Fellows Program: 10 students from CSB and SJU contributed an estimated 4,000 hours of community service hours. The mission of the Jackson Fellows Program is to empower students with opportunities to serve the common good through community engagement, collective learning and leadership and professional development.

Bonner Leader Program: 30 students from CSB and SJU contributed an estimated 1,200 hours of community service work. Last year, the program organized a human trafficking awareness week, hosted a "Comedy for a Cure Event" and participated in service with the elderly at Arlington Place.

Service Learning programs: 118 students from CSB contributed 2,823 hours of community service work, and 61 students from SJU contributed 1,454 hours. The students were enrolled in Education 111: Teaching in a Diverse World. All the students engaged in at least 25 hours of service in the local community over the course of one semester tutoring or mentoring underserved children in grades K-12.

Volunteers in Service to Others (VISTO): Founded by students, VISTO serves both CSB and SJU. The program connected 230 students to 11 community programs for 6,950 hours of community service hours. Students are trained for their program, and are encouraged to educate themselves on the social justice issues served by their program.

Alternative Break Experience (ABE) Program: 128 students contributed 5,032 community service hours on 14 trips ranging from Minnesota to Peru. Their service is shaped by ABE's "Five Pillars of Service" - social justice, community, reflection, learning and intentional living. 

Campus clubs service to community: Each club determines how it will provide service to the community or the campus community. CSB and SJU had 404 students provide 1,820 hours of service work.

Service Learning in Port Elizabeth, South Africa: Thirty CSB and SJU students annually study abroad in Port Elizabeth. All students engage in six hours per week of academic service learning at one of three sites: the House of Resurrection, an orphanage for children affected by HIV/AIDS; Pendla Primary School, an underfunded K-8 school; or Missionvale Care Center, an interdenominational, non-profit organization committed to providing quality care and support. The students provided 2,700 hours of community service.

SJU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC): Last year, the SJU golf team prepped and served hot meals at the local Salvation Army. In addition, the SJU hockey team organized a casino night at a local assisted living home and organized after school ice skating parties and hockey instruction for a local after-school program. A total of 38 SJU students contributed 550 hours of community service.

The Eugene McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at SJU: The McCarthy Center fosters dialogue and provides opportunities for the CSB/SJU and greater Minnesota community to engage in public discourse, service and action. CSB and SJU students helped plan and staff McCarthy sponsored events and performed highway cleanup.  Fifty CSB and SJU students contributed 500 hours of community service hours.

Nationally, almost 3.1 million students engaged in community service or academic service learning projects during the 2011-12 academic year, providing over 118 million hours of community service.