2009 Recipients
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Cabrini College logo


Cabrini College

A small Catholic college in suburban Philadelphia, Cabrini is committed to integrating intellectual excellence with moral and social responsibility. In 2006, it adopted a new motto—Beneficium Supra Seipsum (service beyond one’s self). It is currently implementing an innovative general education curriculum, called Justice Matters, that provides students with opportunities to become civically engaged for social justice. Through the Justice Matters curriculum, students complete four years of required coursework that allows them to grow progressively in their community engagement.  Beginning with class discussions and small community service projects, students then have the opportunity to participate in an extended service project. By year three, students begin to develop in-depth community-based research and advocacy projects.  Finally, the fourth-year capstone experience helps them apply disciplinary knowledge from their majors to solve real community challenges.  Cabrini’s local efforts have focused on an intentional partnership with the neighboring community of Norristown, which faces high poverty and an increasing immigrant population. The College worked to identify collaborative needs in the community and secure large grants to support important programs for at-risk youth and prisoner reentry. Cabrini’s global emphasis has centered on its partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its relationship with the Missionary Sisters as a way to address the issues of food security and hunger, human migration, peace building and disease. Cabrini faculty have played a leading role in initiating the Global Solidarity Network, an on-line collaborative with CRS that allows students to interact with justice advocates around the world.


Elon University logo


Elon University

A comprehensive private university in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Elon’s mission is to prepare civically engaged graduates who are “global citizens and informed leaders motivated by a concern for the common good.” This preparation is grounded in an ethic of service that appreciates multiple perspectives, creates opportunities that are affirming and empowering to all, and responds to the needs of Elon’s diverse communities. Civic engagement drives many curricular and co-curricular activities at the institution, but six deserve special recognition. Elon’s Kernoodle Center for Service Learning connects an impressive number of faculty members offering service learning courses with community partners to ensure that placements are appropriate to course objectives and community needs. In addition, it helps student leaders who plan, implement and evaluate service events through Elon Volunteers! (EV!). The groundbreaking Social Entrepreneurship Scholars (SES) Program links service-learning and entrepreneurship, allowing students to work intensively with local organizations to achieve objectives such as improved health of local schoolchildren. The Elon Academy helps provide access to quality education for low-income local high school students, opening the pathways to college at no cost to students and families. The Elon University Poll is widely recognized in North Carolina as a neutral, independent operation that measures issues, policies and candidate status. And lastly, since Project Pericles was initiated on campus, the Periclean Scholars program has allowed motivated students to take a series of courses culminating in a class project on local or global social change.


Tennessee State University logo


Tennessee State University

A major urban land-grant institution and Historically Black University (HBCU) in Nashville, Tennessee State University has a rich history of public service and civic engagement reflected in its motto Think, Work, Serve. Founded in 2005, the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (CSLCE) has coordinated and led TSU’s service and civic engagement initiatives. In addition to directly meeting with members of student organizations that engage in public service activities to encourage their volunteer efforts, the CSLCE staff holds Service-Learning Course Construction Workshops for faculty members to give them guidance on best practices as they integrate service into their courses. The CSLCE also supports faculty through providing individual consultations, visiting classrooms, strengthening community partnerships and assisting them with reflection and assessment activities. As part of its partnership-building efforts, the CSLCE holds town hall meetings, focus groups, surveys and individual interviews, ensuring that the university’s relationships with local organizations of all kinds are mutually beneficial. In order to establish long-term, sustainable projects to meet community needs, several colleges have become “engaged departments.” Through the Engaged Department Initiative, the College of Education, the College of Public Service and Urban Studies and soon the College of Heath Sciences are committing to incorporate service-learning into the curriculum and set it as a common expectation among majors. The university has been a leader in the development of Tennessee Campus Compact (TNCC) and established an AmeriCorps VISTA Project.


Villanova University logo


Villanova University

A Catholic university located outside of Philadelphia, Villanova’s scholarship and community are guided by the Augustinian values of Veritas, Unitas, Caritas (Truth, Unity, Love). Civic engagement is the hallmark of academic and co-curricular life across the colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Nursing and the schools of Business and Law. For example, the Office of Service Learning within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is home to the interdisciplinary Sophomore Service Learning Community. This residential experience enriches students’ understanding of social justice issues through a combination of hands-on volunteerism and academic coursework. The School of Law offers pro bono legal aid to farm workers, refugees, and the homeless. In the co-curricular area, Villanova students provide community service in markedly higher numbers and at higher hours than national norms. On a daily basis, more than 100 students volunteer at various organizations in inner-city Philadelphia. Villanova hosts the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world. Many students, faculty and staff unite to volunteer in the Philadelphia area as part of the University's annual Day of Service. Organizationally, Villanova has a distinctive policy that “encourages full-time staff with one year of service to participate in university-sponsored trips up to a maximum of five days per academic year, with full pay and benefits and no charge to their vacation benefit.” Villanova seeks to address a multiplicity of challenges through civic engagement—including urban poverty, third world poverty, illiteracy, privilege, disability, access to legal assistance and many others.


Wartburg College logo


Wartburg College

A small liberal arts college in Waverly, Iowa, Wartburg encourages students to “live their learning” beyond the classroom walls through engagement with both local and global communities. In 2002, Wartburg inaugurated the Discovery and Claiming our Callings initiative. Supported by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, the initiative was designed to touch every aspect of campus life by enhancing vocational discovery through leadership, service, civic engagement, mentoring and campus ministry programs. One result of the grant has been the establishment of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) in 2005. The CCE ties together the College’s civic engagement efforts by coordinating and evaluating external relationships that are effective for community partners, and it provides opportunities for student learning, vocational development and public scholarship. The CCE has become the umbrella for multiple signature programs including partnerships with many local school districts, internships completed by more than 60 percent of students, a premedical partnership with the Waverly Health Center, service-learning and service trips. The office also works to support and collaborate with other programs and initiatives on campus including AmeriCorps, Campus Ministry, Disaster Relief, First in the Nation Scholars, the Institute for Leadership Education, Student Life, the Social Entrepreneurship Minor and Wartburg West (an experiential urban learning program in Denver, Colorado).

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