UNC Pembroke was named to the 2013 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 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These are institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
“We have a long history of community engagement through volunteering and, more recently, through service-learning,” said Aubrey Swett, director of Community and Civic Engagement at UNCP. “We are committed to preparing our graduates to be active leaders and participants in an ever-changing world.
“We’re honored to receive this prestigious award – and owe much of it to the students, faculty and community partners in the region,” Swett continued. “Chancellor Carter’s vision and support are the driving force behind our outreach.”
UNCP students engage in community service in a number of ways, and they contributed more than 11,000 hours of service last year. The Office for Community and Civic Engagement creates opportunities for students to volunteer, and student organizations create their own opportunities.
In the Service-Learning Program, faculty members build community service into their courses. Approximately 600 students contributed more then 3,000 volunteer hours this way, said Christie Poteet, UNCP’s service-learning director.
“Service-learning incorporates meaningful service into the course curriculum and provides students an opportunity to apply what they are learning in the classroom to a problem or need in their community,” Poteet said. “Student surveys of service-learning courses find that the service component helps them to better understand the course curriculum and helps them to clarify future career goals.”
Poteet and her office create other opportunities including the National Day of Service and Alternative Spring Break, which took 10 students travel to New Orleans in March.
“These diverse projects included hurricane relief efforts, food delivery and environmental sustainability through a light bulb exchange program,” Poteet continued. “While on the trips, students are encouraged to think about ways to bring these services and ideas back to the their communities.”
Greek and other student organizations build community service into their mission. For example, Kappa Delta sorority held a pancake supper in April at Pembroke Baptist Church to raise money for a national child abuse prevention organization and Southeastern Family Violence Center in Robeson County.
Theta Xi fraternity hosted a fashion show in March for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Alphi Pi Omega and Seta Tau Alpha held a powder puff football game to raise funds for a local child injured in an auto accident. And, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in April is one of the biggest annual fundraisers on campus.
“Congratulations to UNC Pembroke,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of Corporation for National Community Service (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.”
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.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
For more information about the Office of Community and Civic Engagement, please call 910.521.6163.