NU Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service for Seventh Straight Year

March 19, 2012  |  by Michael Freedman

For the seventh consecutive year, Niagara University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to the community.

The honor roll, established in 2006 by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. It is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

Niagara is one of only two schools in Western New York to have made the list every year since it was launched.

“Niagara University has achieved an excellent record of community engagement, and we are most grateful for this,” said the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president of Niagara University. “As an institution, we remain committed to carrying on the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, who taught us to serve those most in need, which we strive to do daily – both on campus and especially within our local community.”

Through Learn & Serve Niagara, one of Niagara University’s core programs, students contribute more than 50,000 hours of service annually as tutors in local school districts and as interns and volunteers in more than 40 social service agencies and organizations in Western New York and southern Ontario. Last September, the university announced the opening of its new Institute for Civic Engagement, an initiative conceived to strengthen existing community partnerships and form new town-gown relationships.

In addition, a recent survey of Niagara faculty and staff found that university employees are engaged in volunteer activities at over 300 non-profit organizations throughout the region and more than 25 percent of NU instructors are conducting community-based research.

The 2012 Honor Roll recipients were announced at the American Council on Education’s 94th Annual Meeting Ahead of the Curve on March 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, Calif.

“Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community,” said Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS. “We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”

“Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap,” said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education. “The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we’ll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen 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.

A total of 642 colleges and universities made the 2012 President’s Honor Roll. Since its founding, the Honor Roll has helped to increase the public’s awareness of the contributions that colleges and their students make to local communities and the nation as a whole.

To view the full 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.

For more information on Niagara University’s commitment to community service, please visit www.niagara.edu/serving-the-community.