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Ohio Wesleyan University Receives Presidential Award for Community Service
Students Served More than 45,000 Hours to Address Challenges

February 25, 2010

For more than 20 years, Ohio Wesleyan students, such as Meredith Gerrick ’08, have been tutoring and mentoring children as part of the Columbus Initiative. During the 2008-2009 academic year, 97 Ohio Wesleyan students committed nearly 6,800 hours to this community service learning project.
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WASHINGTON, DC – Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) was named as one of six Presidential Awardees in the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college and university can receive for its commitment to service-learning and fostering civic engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized the university and its students in the category of “General Service” for their impact on issues from poverty and hunger to human rights and environmental justice. Nearly 1,800 OWU students committed more than 45,000 hours in service work, including tutoring economically disadvantaged children, mentoring at-risk youth, repairing hurricane damage, and serving food in area soup kitchens.

“Congratulations to Ohio Wesleyan University and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation’s CEO. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”

“Community service is part of the foundation and fabric of Ohio Wesleyan University,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D., OWU president. “Our students spent more than 45,000 hours last year working to help people locally, nationally, and around the world. This recognition by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is not the end goal of their collective effort, but a wonderful validation of it.”

Ohio Wesleyan students such as senior Kaleigh Felisberto, a senior from Huntington, Pa., participated in a two-week immersion experience in Washington, D.C., in 2008 to explore power as it relates to poverty. The team also lived in the nation’s largest homeless shelter and spent time preparing and serving food there.
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OWU students share their excitement about learning with children living in the most economically depressed areas of nearby Columbus as part of a 20-year partnership the university established with Columbus Public Schools.

Over the course of the 2008-2009 school year, OWU students mentored at-risk youth, served in soup kitchens, launched environmental projects and hosted workshops, circulated petitions and marched in support of several causes. The university’s students also earned recognition with the “Community Stewardship Award” and the “Keep Delaware County Beautiful” program for their community service work. Click here to read the complete description of OWU’s service work.

College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.

The Corporation administers the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. Honorees are 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. In addition to the top honorees, 115 institutions have been named to the Distinction List and 621 were listed on the Honor Roll. Click here for a full list of Honor Roll recipients.

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The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit Nationalservice.gov.