|RPCC students Byron Lucas and Felicia McGee hand bags of clothing destined for Haiti, through a window in Building E on campus, to a worker with the Salvation Army. Students at the college began collecting clothing items as part of an academic service-learning project.
River Parishes Community College has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This honor roll is 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, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classrooms. Business students served as consultants to budget-strapped nonprofits and businesses, law students volunteered at legal clinics, and dozens of others organized anti-hunger campaigns.
”This is a great honor for RPCC,” said Chancellor Joe Ben Welch. “We place a high priority on service-learning here because it’s the right thing to do. It’s great to see that others recognize our efforts as well.”
The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the 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. For a full list of Honor Roll recipients, go to www.learnandserve.gov/about/programs/higher_ed_honorroll.asp.
During the 2008-2009 school year, 237 RPCC students participated in a variety of service-learning projects. Students in an African-American studies course helped at the Juneteenth celebration at the African-American Museum in Donaldsonville. Microbiology students were instrumental in organizing the college’s March 11 community fair.
River Parishes students in biology and computer science classes collaborated on Project HEAL, while students from several other disciplines collaborated on a Three-Plus Circle of Service grant. Both of those projects were designed to increase the awareness of emergency preparedness to K-12 students in Ascension and St. John the Baptist parishes.
One RPCC student, Todd Borne, was awarded a grant which was used to assist the Ascension Council on Aging in setting up their computer lab and computer instruction. Several Computer Science classes assisted with web page and brochure designs for some area businesses.
“Congratulations to River Parishes Community College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “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 impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”
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 federal Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.