Students' Service to Community Earns National Recognition

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Albion College was again recognized for its community service endeavors by the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service. As an example, first-year students (above) worked on the revitalization of Albion's Holland Park.

November 28, 2016

For the sixth straight year, Albion College has been recognized for its commitment to promoting civic engagement, volunteerism and service learning.

Earlier this fall, Albion was one of 86 colleges and universities named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for its collective 2015 efforts. The program is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll acknowledges institutions achieving measurable outcomes in four different categories, including general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education. In the latest honor roll, Albion was recognized in the general and interfaith categories.

To Pam Schuler, Albion’s assistant director of service and leadership who has coordinated the College’s role in the service program since 2009, the honor simply reinforces everything she has come to expect from Albion students.

“This is a way for our students to receive national recognition for all the community activities they participate in,” she said. “They have the heart to serve on this campus because they consider Albion their home for four years and they like to help the community they serve. That’s the type of people they are. They’re just great students.”

In particular, Albion was honored for three initiatives:

• Biweekly dinners hosted by student service leaders that provided all student organizations participating in community service the opportunity to coordinate and carry out projects.

• Interfaith campus leaders who led both incoming students and 65 students from Greek-letter organizations in a day of service by painting, cleaning and organizing with Interfaith Ministries, the Vision of Life Community Center and the Double Vision Youth Center in Albion.

• Multiple student organizations that gathered to engage in interfaith dialogue and volunteered their time to clean, organize clothes, and sort and package food at the Food Bank of South Central Michigan in Battle Creek and on an Interfaith Council service trip to Washington, D.C.

“A classic example: one group was sitting around saying, ‘We need plastic bags for our trip’ and another group says, ‘We’ve got plastic bags. We can help,’” Schuler said. “People who need rakes, other groups have rakes. We’re combining resources and everybody wins. And the community is the real recipient.”

Schuler said many students volunteered for more than one project and that their efforts came over and above the service work that may already be a part of their regular school requirements, for example through a class or athletic team.

“That’s just their mentality,” she said. “They want to help. With President Ditzler’s emphasis on community, this attitude permeates around the campus.”