SHU Named to President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
|Freshman Stephanie Montstream was one of many who pitched in to paint Bridgeport's Habitat for Humanity warehouse as part of SHU's annual C.U.R.T.I.S. Week.|
Sacred Heart University has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can achieve for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
The Cooperation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.
Sacred Heart University, an institution dedicated to its mission and the Catholic intellectual tradition, has long been pursuing social justice and helping to serve the needs of the community and the world through a wide range of volunteer opportunities.
Service opportunities abound at Sacred Heart for individuals and student groups, including Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens, tutoring, after-school programs in underserved areas, read-aloud programs, community gardens and a plethora of other ways to contribute to the community.
“We’re very proud of the recognition by the Cooperation for National and Community Service,” said Dawn Doucette-Kaplan, who serves as coordinator of volunteer programs at Sacred Heart University. “Students, faculty and staff do so much here to meet the needs of the community. It is what we love to do, but we don’t expect anything in return so it is nice to see people are aware of what we’re doing at Sacred Heart University."
Sacred Heart University students also take advantage of service-learning opportunities woven into the curriculum as well as diverse and engaging campus ministry programs that offers numerous volunteer opportunities for the student body.
Each August, prior to the start of the fall semester, about 40 incoming freshmen participate in Community Connections, a week-long introduction to various service opportunities in the Bridgeport community, which enhances students' understanding of urban issues in a meaningful way.
Similarly, C.U.R.T.I.S. Week, which takes place during the spring semester, is open to all students and allows them to serve the Bridgeport community in many facets -- from working in soup kitchens and schools to building homes through Habitat for Humanity.
“Students at Sacred Heart University seem to be naturally drawn to volunteering and community service,” added Mrs. Doucette-Kaplan.
Sacred Heart University also responds to catastrophic world events such as the January 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince. The “Hearts for Haiti” initiative is underway at Sacred Heart following SHU President Anthony J. Cernera’s creation of a campus-wide task force to aid the disaster victims. In February, students gathered for an all-night event that celebrated Haiti’s rich culture, raising money and collecting items such as clothes and first aid kits to send to Haiti. This initiative continues today.
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector -- last year alone, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation for National and Community