Baylor Receives Presidential Recognition As One of Nation's Top Colleges for Community Service

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    Campus Kitchen at Baylor University volunteers
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May 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Baylor University is one of only 114 U.S. universities - and the only Texas university - named "With Distinction" to the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (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.

At Baylor, nearly 10,000 students engage in academic service-learning and other forms of volunteer community service for a total of more than 60,000 hours annually. Students work closely with more than 140 non-profit agencies, as well as schools, churches and other organizations in the greater Waco community, positively impacting the lives of thousands of local residents, families and children.

"This award honors Baylor University, the Division of Student Life, our wonderful faculty, staff, VISTAs, community partners, and most of all, our amazing students," said Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life at Baylor. "Baylor has intentionally built upon its unique mission by focusing on the university's civic and social responsibilities and responding to the growing social needs of our local community, our nation and the world. We look forward to further engaging our academic partners in our approach to community service and civic engagement, as well as expanding our scholarship in action initiative."

Jackson also cited the leadership of several faculty and staff members, including Marianne Magjuka [formerly coordinator for community service at Baylor and now director of campus life at Wake Forest University], Rosemary Townsend, Amanda Allen, Becky Kennedy, Matt Burchett, Dr. Liz Palacios and Dr. Suzy Weems, who "work tirelessly to advance Baylor's community service mission."

Baylor was recognized for several exemplary volunteer and community service projects, including:

Campus Kitchen at Baylor University (CKP), which is supported by Baylor students, faculty and staff as an initiative to help feed, empower and educate the community.

Discipline-Specific Mission Trips, which allow students to reflect on how God might use the knowledge and skills gained at Baylor to make a difference in the world by offering direct, hands-on service in the United States, as well as Africa, Central America and Europe.

Service by Student Organizations. Baylor has more than 270 student organizations that perform weekly service projects and execute major service programs in the community, such as:

    o Steppin' Out, a massive, nationally-recognized volunteer service day each semester

    o Baylor Buddies, a mentoring program in partnership with Communities In Schools that matches Baylor students with children from local elementary and middle schools

    o Santa's Workshop, which provides toys, lunch and crafts for 850 children at 19 Early Head Start programs

GEAR UP Math Initiative, Summer Teacher Math Institute, which is part of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a federally-funded program by the U.S. Department of Education designed to better prepare Waco-area high school students for college through academic preparation programs, professional development activities for educators and college access information for students and parents.

Camp Success, an annual summer camp hosted by the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders for treatment of children with language, dyslexia and language-based reading impairments.

Journey Beyond Dreams, a program of First and Goal Inc. to enhance the academic, social and moral development of high school students from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Waco, who meet and experience college life and academics for a week on the Baylor campus.

Promise Neighborhoods, a model to help improve the educational and developmental outcomes of all children in the most distressed communities and transform those communities by improving education outcomes. Baylor hosts a poverty-focused AmeriCorps*VISTA project, which allows the university to work with four AmeriCorps*VISTA members, who focus on community development, poverty education, service-learning and Campus Kitchens Project.

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.

"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," said Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS. "Congratulations to these schools and their 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."

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.

For a full list of recipients and descriptions of their service, visit www.NationalService.gov/HonorRoll.

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