SHU Named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

News Story: February 1, 2009

The Corporation for National and Community Service has honored Sacred Heart University with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.  

SHU President Anthony J. Cernera noted that the University community has always understood higher education to include an engagement by students and faculty in the world around them.

“Our new Core Curriculum addresses the ‘big questions’ regarding what it means to be truly human,” he explained. “A significant part of the answer is an understanding of the needs of others and a willingness to be a part of addressing those needs. We work to prepare our students to make a contribution to the human community, and that lesson, that contribution, can begin right now. Congratulations to all those who have made this recognition possible.”

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 were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, student and faculty participation levels, and extensive offerings of both service-learning and other volunteer programs.

The honors program took note of Sacred Heart’s multifaceted presence in the community. For example, approximately 600 students participate each year in service-learning projects, taking the lessons of the classroom into the “real world” as part of their academic work. In addition, more than 700 SHU athletes are involved in some level of volunteer work in the community.

Special projects for which the University has become known include immersion experiences in the city of Bridgeport such as Community Connections and CURTIS Week; the ONE Campus Challenge that engaged more than 160 members of the SHU community in fighting global poverty; Habitat for Humanity, deemed one of the top five campus chapters in the country; and the University’s longstanding practice of spending alternative spring breaks among the needy in the Deep South and in El Salvador. In all, nearly two-thirds of the University’s undergraduates participate in regular community service.

“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 Sacred Heart for making community service a campus priority, helping to renew America through service to others.”

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.