The millions of service hours that Fordham students completed last academic year have earned the University a spot on the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
The annual Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a school can receive for its community service, salutes institutions that achieve meaningful and measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. This year marks the fourth time Fordham was named to the Honor Roll.
“Social justice is at the heart of Fordham’s [mission]and we’re excited to receive an award that reflects the work we do as a whole,” said Sandra Lobo-Jost, FCRH ’97, GSS ’04, director of the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, which is the liaison organization between Fordham and its surrounding communities in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Fordham was recognized in the categories of “General Community Service” and “Education.” The general category acknowledges institutions that are committed to improving the quality of life within the community—particularly for low-income individuals—in any form of service, including education, health, economic opportunity, environmental restoration, and support for veterans and military families. The education category recognizes institutions that work to improve educational outcomes for children and youth in pre-K through undergraduate education.
Among the public service projects in which Fordham students volunteered were New York City’s HOPE Count to estimate the number of homeless New Yorkers and Urban Plunge, a program in which student volunteers work to combat hunger, promote affordable housing, educate youth, and foster community development in various communities across New York City.
The Dorothy Day Center also connected Fordham’s student groups with at-risk youth in local middle and high schools to provide mentorship, arts and academic workshops, and to offer guidance to high school student clubs.
Universities are chosen based on innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the breadth of academic service-learning credits. This final criterion is another important component of Fordham education, which includes more than two dozen “service integrated” courses across all disciplines.
Launched in 2006, the President’s Community Service Honor Roll highlights the roles that colleges and universities play in serving local communities and in gearing students toward a life of civic engagement. It is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that oversees federal service organization such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund.
By Joanna Mercuri