Emory & Henry College has been named one of six colleges and universities nationwide to receive the 2009 President's Award, the highest federal recognition for commitment to service learning and civic engagement.
The President's Award is the highest distinction for a college or university among those institutions that are selected annually for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Emory & Henry was chosen from among 780 applications nationwide for this honor. The private, liberal arts college becomes the first Virginia college or university to be recognized as one of the top six Presidential Awardees since the Honor Roll was established in 2006.
The other five institutions receiving the 2009 President’s Award are the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio; Willamette University in Salem, Ore.; Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.; and Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized the college and its students in the category of "Service to Youth from Disadvantaged Circumstances" for their impact on at-risk populations and economic development in rural Southwest Virginia. More than 80 percent of Emory & Henry students participated in service projects in 2009, joining with faculty to help transition the local economy from its former manufacturing-base to an economy that thrives on cultural and outdoor recreation.
"Congratulations to Emory & Henry College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's CEO. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved significant results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
"At Emory & Henry College, we engage students, faculty, staff, and communities in empowering individuals and groups to generate solutions from within the community, rather than being imposed from the outside," said college president Rosalind Reichard. "The overarching goal is to improve the quality and sustainability of the social, political, environmental, and economic life of communities in our region and to be a model for similar efforts in other regions of the world."
Emory & Henry students and faculty led the Highlands Project for Public Education, an afterschool program for 80 students who have shown improved grades and decreased behavioral problems since enrolling in the program. Student and faculty members built a Habitat for Humanity house they called the "House of Hope" in just six weeks, and raised nearly $26,000 from the college community and area churches to construct the house. Other service projects included tutoring and mentoring students through both the College’s Highlands Project for Public Education and the Emory & Henry Tutoring Program. The college recently launched a graduate program that provides leadership training in the areas of public service and non-profit sustainability, and remains a focus for the future.
Click here to read the complete description of Emory & Henry College's service work.
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.
The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation 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. In addition to the top honorees, 115 institutions have been named to the Distinction List and 621 were listed on the Honor Roll. Click here for a full list of Honor Roll recipients.
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 State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit Nationalservice.gov.