LSU Receives National Honor for Community Engagement
BATON ROUGE – The Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, and the U.S. Department of Education has recognized LSU as one of the nation’s leading colleges and universities for its commitment to engaging with their communities through community service and service-learning. CNCS admitted LSU to its Honor Roll with Distinction, for its service with community in addressing such issues as literacy, education, economic empowerment, environmental stewardship and health.
CNCS, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 schools for their community engagement efforts. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with Distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award. LSU has received recognition on the Honor Roll annually since 2006, at which time it was one of six institutions recognized with the Honor Roll’s highest honor, the Presidential Award.
“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.”
LSU was recognized for its campus-wide commitment to community, including service-learning activities facilitated by the Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL; student-led service initiatives by Volunteer LSU, student, and Greek organizations; and numerous partnerships with public schools. Initiatives from the following departments were included in LSU’s application: Campus Life Student and Greek Organizations, CCELL, College of Education GEAR-UP, Community University Partnership, Department of Kinesiology Safe Routes to School Program, LSU Community Playground Project, Shaquille O’Neal CHAMPS/Life Skills Program and Volunteer LSU.
Each year, LSU service-learning classes engage students with community organizations to provide meaningful service that enhances student learning. With last year’s projects ranging from volunteer tax preparation to group exercise programs for seniors, service-learning students met community needs through service, deliverable projects and community-engaged research. Service-learning courses regarding sustainability also increased dramatically, with new course offerings in sustainable farming techniques, campus recycling efforts, and K-12 sustainability education.
LSU’s partnerships with East Baton Rouge School District and surrounding parishes featured prominently in the application. Last year, more than 1,330 LSU students served in public schools, many as reading or math tutors with Volunteers in Public Schools, or VIPS. Community Bound, a day-long beautification program, involved approximately 400 LSU first-year students, faculty and staff in preparing public schools for the academic year. In addition, LSU athletes and the kinesiology department promoted healthy lifestyles by visiting K-12 schools and promoting safety at public schools.
Student and Greek organizations are a strong component of LSU’s community engagement efforts. Participants in student-led initiatives contributed nearly 26,000 hours of service last year, with Greek organizations performing 19,500 hours of community service and raising more than $468,000 for charity. Students collaborated with organizations such as the St. Bernard Project, Habitat for Humanity and the American Heart Association.
“Service should always be a part of the mission of a major university, both to its state and local community,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “And providing our students with the opportunity to serve while they learn is something we take great pride in at LSU.”
For a full list of recipients, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a strong partner with the nation’s colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.