NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College has been named to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third time since the award was launched in 2006.
Bethel was one of three Kansas private colleges named to the Honor Roll, which recognizes educational institutions nationwide that support effective community service and service-learning programs. The Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition of a college or university for commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. It is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.
The Corporation for National and Community Service announced the 2009 Honor Roll Feb. 25, recognizing more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs, using the skills gained in the classroom.
“It’s inherent in the nature of Bethel College to encourage service,” said John Sheriff, interim president. “Service is one of the four core ethics in Bethel’s mission statement. Its importance was obvious in the meal-packaging event for Haiti, sponsored by Numana Inc., that we hosted on campus recently. We don’t do service to gain recognition, but at the same time, it’s great to have a national service organization make note of our efforts.”
“Congratulations to Bethel College and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the 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.
College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector. In 2009, 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 Service. Each year, the corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs, education awards to AmeriCorps members at the conclusion of their term of service and support of training, research, recognition and other initiatives to spur college service.
McPherson College, with which Bethel cooperates through the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas (ACCK), also made the Community Service Honor Roll. The third Kansas private college named was Southwestern College, Winfield. The other area school on the list was Butler Community College, El Dorado. For a complete list of institutions named to the fourth annual honor roll, visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. 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 2009 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.