SUNY Cobleskill Named to President Obama’s Community Service Honor Roll for Third Consecutive Year
March 21, 2012
SUNY Cobleskill has been named to President Barack Obama’s 2011 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement. It is the third straight year the College is recognized for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.
The Honor Roll, administered since 2006 by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), includes 513 college and universities, 110 institutions received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award. Campuses named to this year’s Honor Roll reported that nearly one million of their students engaged in service learning and more than 1.6 million participated in other forms of community service, serving a total of more than 105 million hours.
Under the leadership of the Office of Student Affairs, community service commitments are embedded into SUNY Cobleskill’s curriculum, student government and student life initiatives. Among academic endeavors, the Early Childhood program places interns in the local Head Start facility to assist in day-to-day operations.
The Student Government Association and Council for Student Activities organize fund drives for local food banks and an annual blood drive with more than 500 donors. As part of fall orientation, freshmen participate in the College’s annual Community Engagement Day, which connects students with the community in a wide range of specially designated service initiatives.
A commitment to service exists at the institution’s administrative level, as evidenced by participation in the Liberty Partnership and GEAR UP grant programs, which promote public school student retention and graduation in at-risk and low-income areas.
SUNY Cobleskill is also the recipient of a New York Department of Health grant aimed at increasing healthy eating and physical activity in Schoharie County. The Creating Healthy Places initiatives, led by SUNY Cobleskill’s Beard Wellness Center, are strategic endeavors designed to create healthy places to live, work and play in the towns and villages throughout the county.
In the wake of area flooding due to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee this past summer, SUNY Cobleskill led many relief efforts within the region. Students served meals to Red Cross volunteers at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds, assisted with distribution of donated items and various cleanup projects in Schoharie and Middleburg counties, and partnered with the Village of Cobleskill to remove debris and address damaged homes, businesses and facilities.
“I am very proud that SUNY Cobleskill has again been recognized by President Obama for its commitment to community service,” says Dr. Candace S. Vancko, SUNY Cobleskill’s officer-in-charge. “I am particularly proud of our faculty, staff and students’ efforts to reach out and provide flood relief aid to local communities hit hard by flooding last fall.”
SUNY Cobleskill centralized its community efforts under its Communiversity initiative in 2008, expanding work that had been conducted in the past. Striving to be a resource for the community on multiple platforms, the College has directed additional resources toward community involvement while attempting to link the campus whenever possible with Schoharie County and Capital Regional communities.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. 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.
“We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom,” said Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS. “Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”
For a full list of Honor Roll recipients, visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.
About The Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service 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.