Florida Southern Receives Second Consecutive President's Honor Roll Award for Service
LAKELAND, Fla. (Feb. 12, 2009) — Florida Southern College was named by the Corporation for National and Community Service to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second year in a row for exemplary service efforts and service to Americas communities. The award recognizes the colleges leadership in helping to build a culture of service and civic engagement on campus.
"We are proud of our rich tradition of service learning, which inspires leadership and changes lives," said FSC president Dr. Anne Kerr. "Our students are truly passionate about what they do and are having a profound impact on our community."
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 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 institution offers academic service-learning courses.
FSC's service learning culture integrates academic learning with community service. Sixty percent of undergraduates volunteer in the community, logging 10,000 hours of service annually through the Center for Service Learning and Life and Cultural Center. In addition, the faculty has collectively designed an innovative, cross-curricular program that promotes a culture of service learning called "SAGA," or Student Awareness Generates Action. The theme for 2008-09 is poverty and hunger. SAGA has held presentations and events to generate greater student awareness of critical needs in the community, including showing films related to poverty and hunger and setting up committees to assist students in organizing service opportunities for the campus community.
A Volunteer Fair was held during Fall Service Day at which 25 organizations presented students with ideas and information on volunteer opportunities within the local community. Recent service learning projects by FSC students have included working with Farmworker Ministry to provide clothing, linens, furniture and household items to farm workers in Polk County, as well as providing Christmas gifts for the workers' children. Students in the nursing program worked with community-based health organizations to promote wellness education. First-year students designed an exhibit of Jewish archives as part of a service learning course created to help establish an electronic archive for a local synagogue; the students presented their work at a state-wide conference. Honors students researched and catalogued photos, drawings, and correspondence relating to Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural work at FSC from 1939-1958 and created a corresponding Web site for use by students, Wright scholars and the public. FSC biology students participated in a wetlands restoration project that is helping the city of Lakeland remove pollution from storm runoff from Lake Hollingsworth. The students continue to monitor the success of the project in their biological survey methods course.
In addition, students consistently volunteer their time at many agencies, including Ronald McDonald House, Talbot House, Agape Food Bank, Florida Sheriffs Youth Villa, Girl Scouts of America, Prevent Child Abuse, Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness and Education, Yoplait Lids to Save Lives, Peace River Center, Campfire USA Lakeland, Habitat for Humanity, and Huntsman Cancer Center.
The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and 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. The Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.