For the fifth straight year, West Virginia Northern Community College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Admiring the certificate received are, front from left, Dr. Martin J. Olshinsky, Northern’s president; Kyrie Straight, student representative to the WVNCC Board of Governors, and Sigourney Tabor, student leader. Back from left are Shannon Payton, student activities director, and Janet Fike, vice president of student services.
The Corporation for National and Community Service once again has honored West Virginia Northern Community College as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. Northern was admitted to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.
WVNCC and West Virginia University are the only two institutions in the state to be named to the list each year since the program began. Based in Washington, D.C., the Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 511 were named to the Honor Roll, 114 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 11 were identified as finalists and six received the Presidential Award.
"As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions," Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS, said. “Congratulations to West Virginia Northern Community College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”
A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a 9 percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting their efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community.
WVNCC projects emphasized in the 2010 application submitted by Shannon Payton, student activities director at Northern, included the Martin Luther King Day of Service initiative, Military Mail Call and the Mock Crash alcohol awareness program.
As part of its commemoration of Martin Luther King Day, Northern organized a drive to benefit the Greater Wheeling Homeless Coalition as well as hosting a free breakfast for children. The college collected more than 3,500 items, ranging from personal hygiene items to clothing. Volunteers then sorted and packaged the items to be given to the homeless coalition.
For the past 16 years, WVNCC has been the top college nationally participating in the Military Mail Call program. Operating under the guidelines of the Friends of Our Troops Organization, Northern provided 18,550 letters for military personnel and raised $3,400 in funds for supplies associated with shipping fees.
Also during the year, Northern was a lead partner in sponsoring a program that hosted some 400 area junior and senior high school students during the peak of prom season. The students witnessed injured individuals being extracted from cars with the Jaws of Life, a young man taken away in a body bag and the LifeFlight helicopter hovering above. Another part of the program was a mock trial presided over by an actual judge and attorneys of the woman charged in the accident scene they had witnessed.
On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2009, 3.2 million college students dedicated more than 307 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.4 billion. Business and law students offer tax preparation and legal services, and college student volunteers provide meals, create parks, rebuild homes after disasters, conduct job training, run senior service programs and much more.
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. Last year, CNCS provided more than $215 million in support to institutions of higher education, including grants to operate service programs and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayment. CNCS is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curricula. Through these programs, in classes and in extracurricular activities, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.
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.
Along with WVNCC and WVU, other West Virginia institutions named to the 2010 Honor Roll are Bethany College, Fairmont State University, West Virginia University at Parkersburg and West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.