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Ohio Wesleyan University Named to Presidential Honor Roll
National Award Recognizes OWU’s Exemplary Community Service

February 9, 2009

Martim Thomaz, right, helps Nicaraguan farmers to reverse rainforest destruction by working with them to implement sustainable land-use practices during a 2008 OWU spring break mission trip.
Photo courtesy of OWU Spring Break Mission Week Program
DELAWARE, OHIO – The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Ohio Wesleyan University today with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Ohio Wesleyan received a “With Distinction” designation on the honor roll, which recognizes exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“Ohio Wesleyan University has been committed to community service and civic engagement since its founding,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “More than 80 percent of our students participated in community service projects last year, including efforts that touched lives locally, nationally, and internationally. Our students are committed to creating a better world, and they showed that by participating in projects to tutor area students, build homes in New Orleans, provide medical care in Nicaragua, and more. This is a wonderful honor for them and for Ohio Wesleyan.”

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 multiple 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.

Ohio Wesleyan was recognized for multiple programs, including 10 spring break mission week programs, an active Big Brothers Big Sisters program, one of the oldest Upward Bound programs in the nation, and the Columbus Initiative, a 20-year-old program that pairs OWU student-mentors with pupils in the Columbus Public Schools. Overall, Ohio Wesleyan students logged nearly 55,500 hours of community service last year.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges.”

A full list of schools honored with Presidential Awards and Honor Roll designations is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education. “College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day – as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others.”

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the Corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The Corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service learning in schools, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.