JMU Earns Place on Community Service Honor Roll

From: Public Affairs

Feb. 9, 2009

HARRISONBURG James Madison University is among 546 colleges and universities named to the 2008 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America's communities.

The honor roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Established in 2006 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the honor roll is sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development in partnership with Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. The honor roll was announced Feb. 9 at ACE's annual meeting.

The university earned a place on the roll for its commitment to service learning through both academic course requirements and involvement in Community Service-Learning programs, said Rich Harris, director of Community Service-Learning at JMU. The selection process for inclusion on the honor roll involves a rigorous reporting of student service as required components of academic courses as well as student participation in volunteer service learning programs and projects.

Student service learning estimates that Harris compiled for the honor roll nomination show that 8,022 students contributed 145,334 total service hours during the 2007-08 academic year. The estimates, which Harris said he believes are conservative figures, include contributions from students engaged in service learning projects sponsored by academic classes, university academic and administrative offices, fraternities and sororities, athletics, and clubs and organizations officially recognized by JMU.

In addition, four model programs at JMU the Office of Community Service-Learning, College of Education disaster relief trips, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services and Centennial Scholars Program were spotlighted as evidence of JMU's commitment to service learning.

CS-L serves as a bridge connecting JMU with more than 100 local, national and international agencies, including partners in the university's popular Alternative Break Program and programs such as America Reads. Multiple groups of students from the College of Education have responded to needs of people in the Gulf Coast since shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The students have helped rebuild houses, gutted a free clinic and served Thanksgiving meals to homeless and displaced people.

Nearly all of the students enrolled in health and human services-related courses are engaged in service outside the classroom in partnerships with many agencies to provide assistance in health care, health education and respite care to benefit full-time caregivers. All 200 of JMU's Centennial Scholars are required to perform 100 hours of community service per academic year. The students, who have earned full scholarships based on academic excellence, are members of under-represented segments of the population.

JMU is a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.

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