posted February 23, 2008

Hope Recognized Nationally for Service Focus

Hope College has been named to the national President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for a second consecutive year for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovativeness 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.

The 2007 Honor Roll, which recognizes schools for their community service activities during the 2006-07 academic year, was announced at the American Council on Education's Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 11.

"Walking alongside others is an essential part of Hope students' fabric as they seek to serve, support and empower individuals that have a need," said Dr. Richard Frost, who is vice president for student development and dean of students at Hope.

"Hope students' serving comes from a genuine Christian commitment and the understanding that we are all called to help others," he said. "What always amazes me are the stories I learn about students doing service not because it is tied to a class, resume or group but simply because it is the right thing to do. Hope's campus culture breathes service from the mission statement 'The mission of Hope College is to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society...'; for students these are not just words but their lives."

Hope students engage in volunteer service throughout the school year, including individually as well as through large-scale programs coordinated through the college. Examples range from the annual "Time to Serve" program that engages hundreds of new students in community service through the New Student Orientation program; to the student-organized Dance Marathon that raises funds for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital; to spring break mission trips around the country and abroad organized by the campus ministries office; to serving as ESL tutors locally; to mentoring elementary-age children through the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program. Earlier this month, an interdisciplinary Hope service project focused on water quality and community health in the village of Nkuv in Cameroon was named one of four finalists for Michigan's 2008 Carter Partnership Award by Michigan Campus Compact.

The Honor Roll is jointly sponsored by the Corporation, through its Learn and Serve America program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

In congratulating the winners, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said, "Americans rely on our higher education system to prepare students for citizenship and the workforce. We look to institutions like these to provide leadership in partnering with local schools to shape the civic, democratic and economic future of our country."

Overall, the Community Service Honor Roll awarded six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, four schools were recognized as Special Achievement Award winners, 127 as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 391 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 528 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

A total of 17 colleges and universities from Michigan were recognized, including 13 on the Honor Roll and four on the Honor Roll With Distinction.

"There is no question that the universities and colleges who have made an effort to participate and win the Honor Roll award are themselves being rewarded," said American Council on Education President David Ward. "Earning this distinction is not easy. But now each of these schools will be able to wear this award like a badge of honor."

The Honor Roll is jointly sponsored by the Corporation, through its Learn and Serve America program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation 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. More information may be obtained online at http://www.nationalservice.gov.