Eastern Illinois University has been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education for its commitment to bettering its community through service and service learning.
The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.
The CNCS, which has administered the National Service Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 schools, colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 – including Eastern Illinois University -- were named to the Honor Roll.
EIU was admitted for its work in volunteerism and community service. This past year, Eastern students have completed more than 110,000 hours of community service, including direct and indirect service to more than 40 different organizations in the Coles County area, as well as in-classroom service with faculty members.
These efforts represent an on-going long-term commitment EIU students have to their community.
“Service has become increasingly important at Eastern,” said Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs. “I am pleased our student leaders are being recognized for their outstanding contributions and commitment to community service.”
“We are very proud of the legacies of EIU students; certainly, a key is the legacy of service,” echoed Rachel Z. Fisher, director of Student Community Service. “We are incredibly delighted and thrilled with this listing. This is a tremendous honor and we celebrate the hard work of the over 7,000 student volunteers here at EIU!”
She added, “I am incredibly impressed with the passion of our students and I am greatly appreciative of the support of so many non-profit and community partners. Together, we can be the difference!"
Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS, said that through service, the honored institutions are “creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community.”
“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,” added Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for post-secondary 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.”
According to the CNCS, millions of students from colleges across the country are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2010, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to their communities, service valued at more than $6.6 billion.
“I am proud of the commitment that Eastern Illinois University students make in the community,” said President Bill Perry. “They are making a real difference in the world.”