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Susquehanna University Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

Feb. 16, 2009

Selinsgrove, (Pa.)—Susquehanna University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to America’s communities.  

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) identifies honorees for the award based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service learning courses.

Susquehanna University has long fostered a campus culture that inspires civic leadership and social responsibility. About 97 percent of students participate in community service at some point in their student career, according to Amanda Nagy, AmeriCorps VISTA coordinator of civic engagement.

The college’s SU CASA program takes participants to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for two weeks annually to earn academic credit while serving at congregations, clinics, refugee and immigrant communities, hospitals and an orphanage. Three times a year, Susquehanna sends teams of students, faculty and staff to New Orleans to assist in Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. First-year students get a chance to work with faculty, staff and peer mentors on service projects that address homelessness, both near the university and in Washington, D.C.

“We are extremely proud to be a member of this honor roll for the third consecutive year,” says Nagy. “This recognition proves Susquehanna University’s commitment to service, both in our local community and from a global perspective.”

“Our students are transformed by their experiences as they engage with communities outside Susquehanna University,” says D. Eric Lassahn, director of residence life and civic engagement at Susquehanna. “Their work clearly makes a difference in these communities, but I am thrilled to report that the growth our students experience through these endeavors is just as significant.”

As leader of Susquehanna’s SU CASA program, the Rev. Mark Wm. Radecke, chaplain to the university, agrees. “Students go expecting to change the world. They return, and find that their world has changed,” he says.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We salute Susquehanna University for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members.  In total, 635 schools were recognized.

The honor roll is a program of CNCS, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The list of honorees is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education. 

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to a CNCS Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. CNCS is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

CNCS is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The agency administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations.

Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a private liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Study and service learning abroad, collaborative research among students and faculty, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers.

Contact: Karen Jones
570-372-4650

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