The University of Mississippi has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“The University of Mississippi believes in transformation through service, and we’re honored to see that commitment recognized with this prestigious award,” said Albert Nylander, director of the university’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement. “We are working to expand our service-learning and civic engagement efforts so that the university can positively impact the quality of life in communities across the state.”
The university was honored for its participation in the College Corps National Service Program, the UM Big Event and the North Mississippi VISTA Project.
The 70 UM College Corps members commit to 300 hours of service per academic year at 12 locations in Oxford and Lafayette County. They were responsible for serving 2,250 meals, tutoring 550 students, teaching 250 lessons on nutrition and wellness, and raising $18,500 for partner organizations.
The Big Event, a student-driven day of service in Oxford and Lafayette County, engaged 1,200 students, faculty and staff, who gave 8,000 service hours in one day, serving 5,000 individuals in the community. Projects included building a house with Habitat for Humanity and collecting more than 1,000 bags of trash and recyclables.
The North Mississippi VISTA Project leverages the resources of the whole University to support communities in 23 counties in North Mississippi. VISTAs work at sites such as the North Panola School District, the University Museum, and the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County. The members of the VISTA project engaged with nearly 1,000 volunteers last year for more than 40,000 hours of volunteer time. More than 4,000 people were impact by VISTA projects.
“We are proud of our students and their sense of service to the community,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “Over 10,000 of our students engaged in community service in the past year, and these students collectively gave nearly 611,000 service hours. These students provide tremendous momentum to deepen our future community-engagement efforts.”
“Congratulations to the University of Mississippi, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS. “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.
More information about community service efforts at Ole Miss can be found at http://mclean.olemiss.edu. More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees can be found athttp://www.nationalservice.gov.