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Lehigh wins third straight national award for community service

Carolina Hernandez directs the Community Service Office, which has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in each of the past three years.

The Community Service Office has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, learning through service and civic engagement.

It is the third consecutive year Lehigh has received this prestigious honor.

“The growth and sustained excellence in community service opportunities at Lehigh are a tribute to [office director] Carolina Hernandez and a number of extremely dedicated students,” says John Smeaton, vice provost for student affairs. “National recognition is gratifying and well-deserved but the real measure of this program’s impact is the way it has changed lives.”

The Community Service Honor Roll was launched in 2006. Schools are chosen for the scope and innovation of their service projects, the percentage of their students taking part in service activities, the incentives they offer for service, and the number of courses they provide in learning through service.

“It is an incredible honor for our office to be recognized three years in a row,” says Hernandez. “This award recognizes that our office continues to offer quality programs.

“Especially during these tough economic times, the Community Service Office is continuing to meet its mission of serving others and influencing the community in meaningful ways. Often, the incredible work by students in our office goes unrecognized due to their humility. This award recognizes the exceptional commitment, dedication and contributions of our student staff.”

Hernandez says Lehigh students participate in about 120 programs a year, ranging from after-school tutoring, food drives and service in local soup kitchens to major events such as the annual Spooktacular and Spring Fling programs that draw thousands of local residents to the Lehigh campus.

“They also take part in SERVE trips, which take place over fall pacing break, winter break and spring break,” says Hernandez. “Instead of winding down, they travel all over the country to volunteer their time in service to others.”

Established in 1996, the Community Service Office has ties with more than 100 local agencies and runs several programs each year, including the America Reads and Counts tutoring program for local children and the first-year volunteer orientation program at Lehigh.

“Congratulations to Lehigh and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are vital to our efforts to help renew America through service.”

 

Story by Bill Doherty

Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2010

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