posted March 27, 2008

Students to Receive MCC Service Awards

Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) will honor seven Hope College students for their dedication and commitment to community service during the 12th annual Outstanding Student Service Awards recognition event on Saturday, April 5, at the Holiday Inn-South in Lansing.

Each year, MCC awards students from member colleges and universities across the state for their outstanding commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Four types of awards are given: the Outstanding Community Impact Award, the Commitment to Service Award, the Heart and Soul Award and the Michigan Humanitarian Award. The awardees have been selected from a nomination pool of nearly 600 students.

Gerardo Ruffino, a senior from Holland, will receive the Commitment to Service Award. The award is given to one student per member campus in the state of Michigan for commitment to community service. Only 23 students will receive the award.

Heart and Soul Awards will be presented to six Hope students: junior Hannah Hackett of Tamarac, Fla.; freshman Megan Haserodt of North Olmsted, Ohio; junior Caitlin Lamade of Wheaton, Ill.; junior Brittnee Longwell of Zionsville, Ind.; senior Lisa Pusinelli of Western Springs, Ill.; and junior Matthew Seely of Albion. The award is given to students to recognize their time, effort and personal commitment through service.

The Hope students have all been involved in service in a variety of ways.

Ruffino's community involvement has included serving as a peer health educator with the Ottawa County Health Department; as a volunteer tutor and peer educator with Wavecrest Academy; as an ESL teacher with Latin Americans United for Progress; and as leadership director with Boys and Girls Club of Holland. His campus activities include serving currently as general manager of the WTHS FM campus radio station and as a resident assistant, and he is past president of the La Raza Unida student organization.

In addition to other community-service involvement that they pursue individually, Hackett, Haserodt, Lamade, Longwell and Seely are all members of the college's student Volunteer Council, which coordinates multiple service activities on campus and promotes student volunteerism. Pusinelli helped write the request for and has played a leadership role in implementing the MCC "Brighter Futures" grant that is providing additional programming for the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) and Upward Bound programs this year.

Michigan Campus Compact promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college and university students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement. More information may be obtained online at www.micampuscompact.org.

Local organizations with service needs with which the college's Volunteer Services program might be able to help are encouraged Wilma Hart, assistant to student activities and coordinator of volunteer services, at Hope at (616) 395-7942.