Centre College recently was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“Congratulations to Centre College, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” says Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
CNCS collaborates on creating the Honor Roll with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact. The Honor Roll came about after CNCS was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
“Through [community service], institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges,” Spencer says.
For many Centre students, participating in community service efforts is an integral part of the Centre experience, making the Community Service Honor Roll all the more meaningful.
“Being recognized as an institution on the President’s Community Service Honor Roll is a distinct honor, and one that highlights the positive efforts of our students to make a difference in the world around us,” says Patrick Noltemeyer, associate dean and director of community service and the Bonner Program. “Service is specifically stated as one of our institutional goals, connected to our mission of preparing students, in a close and caring community, for lives of learning, leadership and service in a global society.
“During their undergraduate years, our students learn to apply the knowledge and creative problem-solving skills they gain in their coursework to address issues and problems in our community,” Noltemeyer continues. “It is our hope that the service habits students develop as undergraduates will persist throughout their lifetime.”
Centre has been honored by the Community Service Honor Roll five times since CNCS began administering the award in 2006 — and for good reason. Numerous campus organizations are dedicated solely to community service efforts, including Centre Action Reaches Everyone, national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and Centre chapters of other national organizations, including Best Buddies, Nest, Habitat for Humanity, Rotaract Club and Up ‘Til Dawn, among others.
The Bonner Program also is important at Centre, as 60 students on campus from all class years are required to complete eight to 10 hours of community service a week to maintain scholarships from the organization. In 2012, Bonner Scholars and members of CARE donated 7,000 hours of service to downtown Danville.
Centre’s fraternities and sororities also are highly involved with community service efforts, maintaining long-lasting efforts to raise money for organizations including St. Baldrick’s, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and others.