Feb 182009
Authors: Emily Johnson

Recognized for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement, CSU was named earlier this month to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Rather than boasting about the accolade, which distinguishes CSU as one of more than 100 universities “With Distinction” across the nation, campus community service leaders spoke humbly of their work.

“It’s really cool to be recognized for this,” said Jen Johnson, assistant director of the Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement Office. “It also fulfills the university’s mission of service for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado, the United States and the world.”

Clayton Hurd, an associate director with The Institute for Learning and Teaching, agreed.

“Yes, this is a very prestigious award, but it’s what we do anyway as part of our commitment to the community.”

CSU utilizes groups like SLiCE and TILT to fulfill its commitment to community activism. The university consistently ranks as one of the top schools in the nation known for service work, Hurd said.

“It’s a tribute to our engaged faculty and students who put in extra effort addressing the needs of the community,” Hurd said. “It’s not about (TILT) or SLiCE, it’s about the university as a whole. There’s an undercurrent of commitment here to outreach and service.”

An estimated 13,000 students participate in SLiCE and TILT activities (11,000 and 2,000, respectively).

These programs, combined with more than a dozen other similar programs, elevated CSU to the status of “With Distinction,” one tier up from CSU’s grade in the past two years and one tier from the highest Honor Roll rank.

“I feel good about this (rank). We my not have made it to the top, but this award demonstrates that we’re out there. We’re doing things,” Johnson said.

The process for applying for the Honor Roll includes an extensive, in-depth report on university civic engagement and service. For this year’s application, SLiCE submitted an 11-page report, highlighting some successful programs at CSU, including Cans Around the Oval, CSUnity, Special Needs Swim and Alternative Breaks.

Hurd said she anticipates more interest and excitement about community service and outreach in the coming years, pointing to President Obama’s agenda, which includes expanding service learning and volunteer programs.

“He has some really great ideas. We’ll see how it plays out with the economy,” Hurd said. “It would certainly offer us an opportunity to improve our own programs and be a model for other schools.”

Initiated in 2006, the Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is sponsored by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

According to http://www.learnandserve.gov, schools that place on the Honor Roll can use the award to boost recruiting and earn community recognition.

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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