NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has been named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second time since the award was launched in 2006.
Bethel was one of five Kansas private colleges and universities named to the Honor Roll, which recognizes educational institutions nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs. The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is sponsored by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.
“Service is one of our four central values,” said Bethel President Barry C. Bartel. “It is an honor that this award gives outside recognition of how our ethic of service is reflected on our campus and beyond.”
He added, “We recognize service through service learning scholarships, our students reflect service through volunteer efforts on and beyond campus, our graduates reflect service in their life choices and our faculty and staff demonstrate service in the way they approach their work.”
“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever,” said Nicola Goren, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges. We salute these universities for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”
“I offer heartfelt congratulations to those institutions named to the 2008 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” added Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education. “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.”
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. Using Independent Sector’s estimates of the value of volunteer time, college student volunteering was worth more than $5.6 billion last year.
Expanding campus incentives for service is part of a larger initiative to spur higher levels of volunteering by America’s college students. In 2006, the Corporation for National and Community Service set a national goal of engaging five million college students in service annually by the year 2010 as part of its five-year strategic plan. The agency is working with a coalition of federal agencies, higher education and student associations and nonprofit organizations to achieve this goal. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its main programs; education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and support of training, research, recognition and other initiatives to spur college service.
Two other private Christian-affiliated institutions with which Bethel cooperates through the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas (ACCK) also made the Community Service Honor Roll: McPherson College and Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina. Other area schools on the list are Butler Community College, El Dorado; Newman University, Wichita; and Southwestern College, Winfield. The nationwide total of colleges and universities was 635. For a complete list of institutions named to the third annual honor roll, visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, the Corporation engages four million Americans of all ages and backgrounds in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs. For more information, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.