CSU Earns National Recognition for Community Service

COLUMBUS, Ga. – For the second straight year, the Corporation for National and Community Service has honored Columbus State University with a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America's communities.

'A cornerstone of our values at Columbus State University is servant leadership; effective, ethical leadership through empowerment and service,' said CSU President Tim Mescon. 'Receiving this exceptional honor for the second straight year acknowledges Columbus State University's reinforcement of the town-gown partnership connecting students, faculty and staff with local agencies and resources, collectively focusing on service and enhancing the quality of life in our community. The engagement between the university and the greater community benefits all.'

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Columbus State's Career Center, which facilitates faculty, staff and student volunteerism through its annual Volunteer Opportunities Fair and its Cougar Partners at Work and Service program, reports the university contributed more than 314,000 service hours to the surrounding community in 2008. Sixty percent of the student body (4,745 students) accounted for 302,814 of those hours, while 90 percent of the university's faculty (349 professors) logged 11,186 hours. Non-teaching staff also contributed service time.

The Career Center focused on coordinating activities to help reduce the school dropout rate among the region's disadvantaged youth.

Complementing this effort was the university's Servant Leadership Program, which has generated more than 60,000 community service hours since its 1999 inception. Among its 2008 activities, eight senior servant leadership scholars installed an outdoor classroom at Columbus' Wesley Heights Elementary School, in addition to painting a gymnasium wall mural and raising $1,000 to purchase reading materials for the school's media center to bolster the accelerated and leveled reading programs.

Also, this fall, Columbus State's Student Government Association gathered and distributed bookbags filled with classroom materials to students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School as part of 'Project Bookbag.'

'In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,' said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. 'We salute Columbus State for making community service a campus priority and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.'

Overall, the corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.