Southeastern named to President's Honor Roll for service for fourth consecutive year

Monday, December 15, 2014
by: Tonya Lowentritt

HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University has been recognized for its spirit of community service by being named to a national honors list for the fourth consecutive year.

The university was listed again this year on the President's Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service, which recognizes institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

The honor cites the work of more than 4,500 Southeastern students who provided approximately 120,000 hours of voluntary service to national and area non-profit agencies and other organizations. The estimated value of this work is $2.8 million.

"Southeastern is proud to again be listed on the national President's Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service," said Southeastern President John L. Crain. "Southeastern's community of students, faculty and staff have a strong history of service and have consistently demonstrated a spirit of volunteerism. Their willingness to give back to the communities in which we live and work is evident and is highly valued."

Tena Golding, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence, which oversees service-learning projects at the university, said the culture of service at Southeastern is evident in the growth of student-led projects.

"The Big Event, a Student Government Association-sponsored initiative, recently completed its third service day, attracting about 600 students who worked in the area, doing painting, landscaping, trash pickup and other jobs," she said, "while teacher candidates tutored hundreds of at-risk students through programs like the After School Achievement Program, Project Step Up and Reach Out and Read."

This year, Golding added, a student food pantry was established with funds from the university's inaugural student philanthropy project following a recent survey that revealed 60 percent of students had dealt with food insecurity or know someone on campus who had.

Southeastern students also created and implemented an awareness and recruitment campaign in conjunction with "Be the Match," a national bone marrow donor program. The program, called "Swabbin' 4 Robin," was created in honor and support for "Good Morning America" anchor and 1983 Southeastern graduate Robin Roberts. Roberts underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease known as pre-leukemia. The "Swabbin'" name also refers to the DNA collection method that requires a simple, painless cheek swab.

The campaign educated the campus and public about the need for potential donors as well as the donation process, ensuring that swabbed participants would be strongly committed potential donors. Approximately 200 Southeastern students volunteered 600 hours of service and 30 faculty members contributed 120 hours of service to the "Swabbin' 4 Robin" campaign. Their efforts resulted in the collection of 500 swabbed samples for the "Be the Match" national bone marrow database.

The university was recognized for both its community service activities – general service projects not linked to any specific course work – and its service-learning projects.

Golding explained that service-learning projects are integrated with academic courses and strongly tied to course objectives. Through service-learning, the academic theories and principles of the classroom are used in real world applications.

"Community service projects and service-learning are both highly valuable and commendable," she said. "Both contribute to helping students become motivated, experienced leaders and citizens who are cognizant of society's needs.

According to Southeastern's report, in 2012-13, service-learning activities were incorporated into 71 academic course sections involving more than 2,400 students.

The report also noted contributions of Southeastern faculty and staff members who logged almost 12,000 hours of service, and participated in campus-wide fundraising campaigns for organizations such as the United Way, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

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