Giving Back: Community Colleges on the President's Honor Roll for Community Service

Giving Back: Community Colleges on the President's Honor Roll for Community Service
Learn about the community colleges being honored by President Obama for their stellar contributions to their local areas.
The latest President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is out. and some of the community colleges that made the grade are making repeat appearances on the list. These schools have showed exemplary performance in the area of civic engagement and community service. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was first established in 2006 by the Corporation for National and Community Service to recognize schools of higher education that go above and beyond their basic educational responsibilities to serve their surrounding communities more effectively. We'll take a closer look at this prestigious honor, as well as some of the community colleges that made the grade this year.
 
About the Honor Roll
 
Since he took office, President Obama has issued a national call to service as a major cause for his administration. The president wanted to acknowledge the schools of higher education around the country that went the extra mile to meet the needs of their communities and find solutions to common social problems. As a result, the President's Honor Roll for Community Service was created. Appointees for the annual honor roll are chosen through the work of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Contact and the American Council on Education.
 
There are many factors that go into the selection of colleges and universities for the honor roll. According to the website for the Corporation for National and Community Service, some of the features schools must exhibit include:

  • The innovation and full scope of the service projects initiated
  • Incentives provided for service
  • The number of students involved in the service project
  • The number and quality of academic service-learning courses offered by the college

The full President's Honor Roll recognizes as many as 600 colleges and universities across the country each year and has become a prestigious award for the schools that are appointed to the list.
 
 
Bunker Hill Community College in Boston is one of the schools appointed to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll this year. This is the fifth consecutive year this school has appeared on the prestigious list, as the school has been recognized every year the honor roll has been in existence. According to a report at PR-USA.net, this college was recognized by the honor roll for the following three programs:
 
Boston Welcome Back Center
 
This program is a partnership between BHCC, MassBay Community College, Roxbury Community College, The University of Massachusetts Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The program was created to help nursing students who received their education in other countries obtain the licensure they need to practice in the United States.

Tech-Prep Consortium
 
This program has BHCC partnering with the school districts in the area to promote STEM careers – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To date, this program has involved more than 450 students in middle and high school across Massachusetts.

CANstruction
 
With the help of the Greater Boston Food Bank, this annual event allows architectural firms in the area to compete in a design contest that brings to light the problem of global hunger. The event has been a tradition in the Boston area since 2008.

 
In Minnesota, Central Lakes College is enjoying their third consecutive entry into the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This school is just one of five state schools that made the grade, according to a report in the Brainerd Dispatch. CLC provides many opportunities for students to move beyond the classroom and serve in their surrounding communities. Some of the programs staffed by students and staff of the college include:

  • Mentoring and tutoring programs in local schools
  • Assistance with Habitat for Humanity in the Minnesota area
  •  Work with the Lakes Area Soup Kitchen and Northland Arboretum
  • Introduction of college and its courses to younger students in after-school programs
Central Lakes College provided several thousands of hours of community work from their students and staff last year, increasing the hours between 2009 and 2010 by more than 28,000 hours.
 
Guam Community College
 
Another school to make the honor roll more than once is Guam Community College. This school boasts its second consecutive appearance on the list, according to a report by Pacific News Center. The school conducted 64 service learning projects just during the first half of the 2010-2011 academic year alone, including work at senior centers and other non-profit organizations. The students participated in clean-ups and helped educate others in the community about the value of recycling. The hope is that students will adopt a habit of volunteerism that will follow them long after graduation.
 
Dr. Mary Okada, GCC president, told Pacific News Center, "We are very proud of our students' outstanding efforts to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom to activities that benefit the community. Service Learning is an important part of the curriculum at GCC."
 
Volunteering and giving back to the community is an important component to a well-rounded education today. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll hopes to encourage such activity, by rewarding the schools around the country that help their students and faculty become involved in the smaller worlds around them. In addition to utilizing skills learned in college in a very practical way, students learn the importance of community service and make it a vital component of their lifestyles that will hopefully stay with them throughout their lives.

Additional Resources [+]
What is a Community College?
What is a Community College?
Fact or Fiction: Do Community Colleges Actually Offer a Quality Education?
Fact or Fiction: Do Community Colleges Actually Offer a Quality Education?
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