Kuyper College Honored for Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education honored the nation's leading colleges and universities, students, faculty members, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning.

Kuyper College was named to the Honor Roll for its work in community service and service learning as demonstrated through events such as the Day of Service and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The Day of Service was a part of fall and winter orientations, allowing incoming students to serve in a variety of ways throughout the city of Grand Rapids. Meanwhile, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event to raise awareness about domestic abuse, was orchestrated by a student group at Kuyper called HANDS [Helping And Nurturing During Service]. Kuyper College students also engage in community service and service learning in a multitude of other scenarios.

"Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community," said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of CNCS. "We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities."

"Preparing students to participate in our democracy and providing them with opportunities to take on local and global issues in their course work are as central to the mission of education as boosting college completion and closing the achievement gap," said Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education's assistant secretary for postsecondary education. "The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact - both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world. I hope we'll see more and more colleges and universities following their lead."

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the initiative celebrates the transformative power and volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

As a Christian Leadership College, Kuyper believes service is one of the most important characteristics of a Christian Leader. Jesus himself demonstrated this principle to us as he humbly served humanity. At Kuyper we strive to instill in our students a heart for service for each other, their community, country, and the world. As a means of demonstrating the importance of service to our students and preparing them for a life of service Kuyper has the following in place:

- Incoming freshmen participate in Kuyper's Day of Service as part of their orientation to the College. We have received great feedback after each Day of Service – community members who have expressed words of appreciation for the work students have done. One such project was for the South West Area Neighbors (SWAN). Kuyper students spent 5 hours canvasing the SWAN neighborhood handing out leaflets about upcoming events.
- All of our students engage in service learning via coursework.
- All of our majors require an internship or capstone experience. The average internship requires 300 hours of service in the community. With an average hourly pay of $8.00, 300 service hours is the equivalent of $2400/person in time donated in the community.
- We have student led service clubs.
- We have an annual event called the Taste of Grand Rapids that showcases local organizations students can volunteer with.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 colleges and universities for their impact on issues
from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award. For a full list of recipients, visit here.

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 2010, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $6.6 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 $200 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, college students serve their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills.

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.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) 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.  

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