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College receives service honor

Alicia Smith | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

With 80 percent of students participating in community service prior to graduating, Saint Mary’s was nationally recognized as a member of the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll on Feb. 25, a College press release said.

The Honor Roll is the highest achievement that a college or university can accomplish for its dedication to community service. The College has received the award in each of the past four years, said Carrie Call, director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE).

“This is a national designation awarded yearly to institutions of higher education that meet certain requirements for community engagement and volunteer service,” Call said. “We gained it by the extensive involvement of our students.”

Call said OCSE hopes to continue the tradition of service on campus by offering a variety of opportunities for student engagement at many different levels within the community.
“The opportunities have grown in the past years for our students and we want to continue that,” Call said.

Call said the College believes it is important for students to participate in service.
“It helps students come to understand what their passions and what they want to do in their lives,” she said. “Another important reason is that it gives us the opportunity to give something back to our communities. Catholic Social Teaching tells us that we are ‘all really responsible for all’ and so our service in the community allows us to act out that sense of responsibility and solidarity.”

Call said she was excited about the award because it reflects the actions of the students.
“Awards like this are important because they are a public recognition of our students’ dedication to the common good,” Call said.

The level of student participation at the College is higher than the national average, Call said. OCSE plans to offer several community service opportunities within the next few weeks, including Walk for the Hungry on March 28 and Rebuilding Together on April 17.
Call said OCSE offers a variety of other opportunities throughout the academic year for student involvement in community service.