IUP has been named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts in the 2010–2011 academic year. It's the fourth consecutive year that IUP has earned this distinction.
Institutions are chosen on the basis of the scope and innovation of their service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
The honor roll is produced by the Corporation for National Community Service in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
“This national recognition reflects the university’s continued commitment to community service and citizenship and the outstanding work of the Office of Service Learning,” said James Begany, vice president for Enrollment Management and Communications.
IUP recorded more than 145,790 hours of student volunteer service for the 2010–2011 academic year, up 9,000 hours from service in 2009–2010.
Measured by the current national minimum wage, this volunteer work would be valued at more than $1 million.
Begany said it's "gratifying to see how our students take ownership of service projects designed to help the local community."
He cited as an example "Hawk Rock," a 24-hour service event to be held March 30–31 to benefit three agencies in Indiana County that address homelessness and hunger: the Community Kitchen, the Indiana County Community Action Program food bank and Pathway Homeless Shelter, and the Family Promise of Indiana County.
“While coordinated by the Office of Service Learning, this event is entirely student driven and is the result of hundreds of hours of planning and hard work,” Bergany noted.
Some of the many IUP service projects in 2010–2011:
• Into the Streets, a biannual event in which more than 500 students offered up to 10 hours of service to nonprofit agencies during a Saturday in the fall and in the spring
• KidsRead, through which IUP students volunteered more than 1,100 hours to tutor 100 elementary students once or twice a week
• Several food drives, including one resulting in the collection of more than $330 and more than 500 food and personal care items for the ICCAP food pantry
• Participation in the community’s Daffodil Days for the American Cancer Society
• Blood drives collecting almost 1,000 units of blood, estimated to save more than 2,901 lives
Most of IUP’s community service initiatives are coordinated by the Office of Service Learning, based in the Career Development Center. The office coordinates two AmeriCorps programs, Scholars in Service to Pennsylvania and Community Fellows, and supervises the full-time AmeriCorps position.
Scholars in Service allows students to enroll as AmeriCorps members on a part-time basis and commit 300–450 hours in an academic year to nonprofit agencies at no cost to the agencies. Since the program began in 2006, students have offered 38,850 hours of service, valued at more than $100,000, to organizations in the community.
The Community Fellows Program, new for the 2010–2011 academic year, offers scholarship funding for students to do more than 300 service hours over the course of an academic year.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, 23 IUP students earned the national AmeriCorps President’s Service Award, which recognizes student volunteers who have performed at least 100 hours of service above and beyond their initial commitment.
The Office of Service Learning also coordinates IUP’s federal Serve Study program, which benefits community nonprofit agencies. This program allows qualified students to work up to 25 hours per week for a community organization at no cost to the agency. In 2010–2011, 95 students participated in the program, offering around 18,750 hours—about $136,500 worth of work-study funds—to roughly 40 organizations, including area schools.
The office also participates in the Indiana Community University Collaborative, designed to recognize and mobilize student residents as local community assets and good neighbors.
“The mission of the Office of Service Learning, to promote excellence in professional and personal character development through experiential learning opportunities that bridge the curriculum with community service, fits well with the work of the Career Development Center,” said Mark Anthony, director of the Career Development Center at IUP.
“The Career Development Center has as its goal to teach students, through coaching and support, how to become active participants in their own continuing career development. Community service is an excellent way to help our students find their path and build experiences that prepare them for their successful careers and lives.”