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Kent State University Honored for Excellence in Community Service

Posted April 16, 2012
enter photo description
Chris Vogliano (left), Kent State graduate student in Nutrition
and coordinator of the nutrition outreach program at Center of
Hope and Kent Social Services, prepares healthy meals with
members of the Kent community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education named Kent State University to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. As one of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, Kent State students, faculty members and staff were recognized for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning.

Kent State has been named to the honor roll six times since 2006. The university received the honor this year for engaging in a variety of community initiatives around three goals: to help fight obesity, promote literacy and overcome hunger.

More than 400 faculty members and students served and or led participatory research with vulnerable populations in surrounding communities. Projects included nutrition initiatives, public service announcements around body image and obesity targeting high school children, and other community events to teach the importance of making healthy choices.

Kent State also engaged in literacy projects that included the Bridge to Kindergarten program that eases the transition to kindergarten, financial literacy programs and an economic survival workshop. For combatting hunger, the university was honored for its Campus Kitchen Project that has served more than 8,000 meals to needy families in Portage County, and for other community initiatives, including food drives and dietary educational programs.

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, hundreds from Kent State, 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.

“Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community,” says Robert Velasco, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom.”

“The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses,” says Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education. “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.”

“We should be proud of the efforts of the Kent State community – our students, faculty and staff—for engaging in service and learning opportunities that made this recognition possible,” says Ann Gosky, senior special assistant, Quality Initiatives and Curriculum at Kent State University. “This shows that the impact we continue to make in our community doesn’t go unnoticed, and we are truly honored to be recognized again for the difference that our faculty, staff and students make in the community.”

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.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

For more information about the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, visit www.nationalservice.gov/about/initiatives/honorroll.asp.