A bright new point of light

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March 27, 2018

The College of Saint Benedict is built on the kindness of those who recognize the value of this incredible space and reach deep within themselves to enhance that value. From donors to volunteers, CSB relies on this generosity every day.

As one example, Executive Director of Alumnae Relations Valerie Jones ’94 marvels at the number of CSB alumnae who assist with career service programs. “Our peer institutions think we pay our alumnae to assist with career services because these other institutions simply can’t get their alums to come back and serve in these numbers.”

CSB is humbled by the support it receives from its volunteers. It’s a distinctly Saint Ben’s phenomenon, and explains why CSB is the first college in the nation to receive the Service Enterprise designation from the Points of Light Foundation.

“Organizations that fully leverage volunteers perform better than peers—and at roughly half the cost,” Jones said. That’s not just because of savings on staffing costs. The Service Enterprise designation requires developing and implementing a comprehensive system of best practices that will touch every department. The result is institution-wide improvements in processes, documentation, operations and efficiency.

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the value of the Service Enterprise designation and what it means for CSB students, the broader Saint Ben’s community and beyond. In Jones’s words, “When you look at the issues facing the world, it’s clear that Saint Ben’s needs to be here. We do the important work of educating women who will become thought leaders, and we work to make Saint Ben’s accessible to those who need extra support to be here. One of the ways for us to continue to be here in the long term and continue to increase accessibility is to be really good stewards of our resources. Inviting volunteers to be engaged in our work and in our mission in a deeper, more meaningful way, is an act of preservation.”

Meeting the goal set out in our five-year strategic plan of becoming a mentor-centered community will require around 2,500 people to serve as mentors to our student body. That’s roughly five times the size of CSB’s paid staff.

In addition to CSB, CentraCare Health, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Ruff Start Rescue, WACOSA, St. Cloud Area School District 742 and United Way of Central Minnesota each received certification as a Service Enterprise by the Points of Light Foundation. Each organization is the first of its kind to receive certification in Minnesota.