Augustana Receives Presidential Recognition for Community Service

SIOUX FALLS -- As colleges across the country honor their graduates this commencement season, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has honored Augustana College as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteerism, service-learning, and civic engagement. Augustana was admitted to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.

The CNCS, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of those, 511 were named to the Honor Roll.

"As members of the class of 2011 cross the stage to pick up their diplomas, more and more will be going into the world with a commitment to public service and the knowledge that they can make a difference in their communities and their own lives through service to others, thanks to the leadership of these institutions," said Patrick A. Corvington, chief executive officer of CNCS. “Congratulations to Augustana College and its students, faculty and staff for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”

At Augustana, in between classes and coursework, students, faculty and staff have worked to give back to their community and help people in need:

  • This spring, the Augustana community collected 1,700 pounds of food for Feeding South Dakota.
  • During Spring Break, students worked on a construction project at Joy Ranch, a new camp organized by Lutherans Outdoors, in Watertown.
  • Later this month, through a partnership with Trinity Lutheran Church, students will participate in a soup kitchen ministry that serves 1,000 homeless people each week on the lower eastside of Manhattan in New York City.
  • In April, Augustana Dance Marathon, a student-led group, raised more than $10,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
  • Students and staff assembled aid and school kits for victims of the catastrophic earthquakes in Japan and Haiti and this fall, international students and Serving And Learning Together (SALT), a 30-member student-led group dedicated to service, raised more than $1,000 for Pakistani flood relief efforts.
  • For the past two years, student residents at Hillsboro House, one of Augustana’s 16 Theme Houses, have been serving Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire. As “big brothers,” they have served as role models to area youth by organizing trips to the Great Plains Zoo, Washington Pavilion and Skyforce games; helping with home work; and lending a kind ear to talk about life.
  • Through a SALT-led effort, Augustana students and staff donated 1,000 gifts to Children's Inn, Children's Home, Heartland House, and LSS Immigration Refugee Services during 2010 holiday season. They also sponsored and donated gifts to 50 individuals new to the U.S.
  • In the fall, students worked with children, visited schools and served food to those in need on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
  • In October, 475 student and staff volunteers served 29 local support agencies and service projects and collected 3,049 pounds of groceries for Feeding South Dakota in support of Community Service Day. In its 16th year, Community Service Day was designed to introduce students, faculty and staff to opportunities to make a difference in the local community. Among other support activities, volunteers spent time repairing and painting buildings, caring for animals and collecting trash.
  • The Augie Garden, a student-led initiative funded through a grant administered by the Augustana Service-Learning Program, donates its harvests to The Banquet, a nonprofit agency that serves meals and provides food to people in need.

“At Augustana, values such as community and service are central to our culture and serve as the compass that guides our community,” said Rob Oliver, president of the College. “Time and time again, our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated their commitment to making tomorrow’s world even better than today. This award recognizes those who tirelessly give of themselves to improve the lives of others and the community we call home.”

A total of 851 institutions applied for the 2010 Honor Roll, a 9 percent increase over last year, a sign of the growing interest by colleges and universities in highlighting their efforts to engage students in making a difference in the community.

On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2009, 3.2 million college students dedicated more than 307 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.4 billion. Business and law students offer tax preparation and legal services, and college student volunteers provide meals, create parks, rebuild homes after disasters, conduct job training, run senior service programs, and much more.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a strong partner with the nation’s colleges and universities in supporting community service and service-learning. Last year, CNCS provided more than $215 million in support to institutions of higher education, including grants to operate service programs and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for college tuition and student loan repayment. CNCS is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curricula. Through these programs, in classes, and in extracurricular activities, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations