For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran
732.987.2266
dgilleran@georgian.edu

Georgian Court University Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

Lakewood, N.J., Feb. 16, 2009—The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Georgian Court University today with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“Translating concern for social justice into action is a critical part of our mission at Georgian Court University,” says Rosemary E. Jeffries, RSM, Ph.D. “It is especially gratifying that GCU was named to the Presidential Honor Roll of Community Service and is listed among a group of people who use their skills and talents to bring hope and help into the lives of others.”

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 school offers academic service-learning courses. Georgian Court has landed on the Honor Roll every year since its inception.

Georgian Court University students, faculty, and staff are involved in service-learning and volunteer activities throughout the year. This commitment to community service is the natural outgrowth of the Mercy core values of the university—respect, justice, service, compassion, and integrity—which guide curricular and extracurricular activities.

One particular project in which the GCU community participated was the Mexican Border Awareness Experience, where students lived with families in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to see what their poverty was like firsthand and to experience the massive pressures to cross the border. While in Mexico, GCU students learned about a disturbing trend, young women being murdered or disappearing in the border towns with no interest from Mexican law enforcement to investigate or stop it. Our students decided to establish a solidarity march every third Thursday on the university campus after they had returned. They march at the same time the family members of the disappeared or murdered women march around the governmental buildings in Juarez City demanding help. They also approached their local congressman to try to set up an investigative trip by Congress to the area to get answers and put pressure on Mexican authorities.

Other service projects include tutoring local at-risk elementary and middle school children, conducting book drives for local schools with needs, collecting clothing for the “Dress for Success” program that provides women reentering the job with appropriate clothing, cleaning up local lakes and beaches, participating in blood drives and walks and runs to raise money to fight disease, stocking shelves at local food banks, collecting money for shelters for victims of domestic violence, and helping in the efforts to provide the necessities of life to the homeless.

“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute Georgian Court University for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”

Overall, the corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 83 were named as Honor Roll with Distinction members and 546 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 635 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

The Honor Roll is a program of the corporation, 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 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. College and university students across the country are making a difference in the lives of others every day—as are the institutions that encourage their students to serve others,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad.

Recent studies have underlined the importance of service learning and volunteering to college students. In 2006, 2.8 million college students gave more than 297 million hours of volunteer service, according to the corporation’s Volunteering in America 2007 study. Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. The corporation is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service learning in schools, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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