UMass Dartmouth among national Top 20 in community service

UMass Dartmouth among top 3 percent on President's Honor Roll, economic development and interfaith initiatives receive special recognition

UMass Dartmouth has been named a finalist for the President's Award in community service with distinction in interfaith and economic development by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). This nationwide designation is part of the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and recognizes UMass Dartmouth and its students for their commitment to service-learning and volunteer service.

UMass Dartmouth was selected because of its strong institutional commitment to service. This is the third year in a row UMass Dartmouth has been designated an Honor Roll Finalist. In the past year, UMass Dartmouth students have dedicated 201,547 hours of community service at a value of $5.4 million to the community. More than 100 UMass Dartmouth faculty members taught more than 200 service-learning classes this past academic year that exposed close to 5,000 students to service-learning, taking part in projects that benefit our community.

"The heart and soul of UMass Dartmouth is learning through action. From planting crops at the Sharing the Harvest fields at the YMCA in Dartmouth to caring for the sick at nursing clinics in Haiti, our students demonstrate an uncommon character and unwavering commitment to community service," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman. "Thank you to Dr. Matthew Roy, Deirdre Healey, and the entire staff of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement, as well as the students, faculty, and staff across the campus who are engaged in high levels of community service."

The UMass Dartmouth's Leduc Center for Civic Engagement was started in the Fall of 2008 with a mission to affect positive change in the community by increasing the breadth and depth of community service and service-learning by fostering reciprocal partnerships.

"The UMass Dartmouth community is instilled with a spirit of civic engagement visible throughout the university and the region," said UMass Dartmouth Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement Dr. Matthew Roy. "Our goal is to provide a rich service-learning experience for every student who attends UMass Dartmouth. The experiences our students have in the community are a valuable source of transformative learning that prepares them for life beyond the University."

In January, UMass Dartmouth announced a $1.14 million philanthropic gift from an anonymous donor to honor Reverend Dr. Robert P. Lawrence. The anonymous gift will provide support for the near-term efforts and long-term goals of the renowned Robert and Jeanne Leduc Center for Civic Engagement at UMass Dartmouth. In addition, the Reverend Dr. Robert P. Lawrence Lecture Series, The Reverend Dr. Robert P. Lawrence Civic Engagement Summit, and the Reverend Dr. Robert P. Lawrence Service-Learning Fellows will be established and funded through the gift.

In total, more than 760 higher education institutions were named to this year's Honor Roll. From that group, four schools are selected to receive the President's Award in one of four categories -- general community service, economic opportunity, education, and interfaith community service. An additional 16 schools are named as finalists for the President's Award, the highest federal honor a higher education institution can receive for its commitment to community service. UMass Dartmouth is among the 16 finalists highlighted for its economic development and interfaith initiatives. A complete list of this year's winners can be found at www.nationalservice.gov/HonorRoll.

More than 30 UMass Dartmouth students took part in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) at UMass Dartmouth, preparing taxes for low income residents in New Bedford giving back $1.5 million in tax credits that would not have been achieved.

UMass Dartmouth's College of Visual & Performing Arts "Star Store" campus in New Bedford attracts hundreds of students, staff and faculty to the city's downtown and is recognized as a powerful example of the creative economy. The University's School for Marine Science & Technology, also in New Bedford, works with local, regional, statewide, and federal partners on critical research to help address critical issues related to fisheries and fishing communities. In Fall River, students organized community service fair at Marine Museum in the city and also assisted in installing an urban tree farm, allowing for stock of trees to be planted and maintained

"Service and higher education go hand in hand," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "UMass Dartmouth is inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement."

CNCS has administered the Honor Roll since 2006 to recognize the strong commitment of colleges and universities to service-learning and campus-community partnerships that produce real results in areas ranging from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth.

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges and as a result, more students are likely to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement that achieves meaningful and measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service and champions community solutions through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.NationalService.gov.

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.



Features Leadership & Service