‘Spirit of service is strong’

Marymount University in Arlington has been named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community. This is the university's fourth consecutive year on the honor roll.

Marymount is among 642 colleges and universities recognized for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS, said, "We applaud the honor roll schools and their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom."

Across the country, college students are engaged in innovative projects that address local needs, often using skills acquired in the classroom. In 2010-11, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service to their communities; the CHCS estimates the value of this service to be more than $6.6 billion.

At Marymount in academic year 2010-11, more than 800 students gave a total of 18,000 hours of service in the Washington, D.C., region and farther afield. Local projects ranged from tutoring children to mentoring at-risk youth, working with senior citizens, and conducting food and fund-raising drives. In addition, Marymount biology students served as judges at local science fairs, nursing and physical therapy students provided screenings at community clinics, and business students provided tax-preparation assistance and paralegal services. On campus, Marymount students organized two major community-service events: Halloweenfest for disadvantaged children in the fall, and the Special Olympics Regional Basketball Tournament in the spring.

Marymount students also do service work abroad. Examples this past year included teaching hands-on math and science in India, and providing physical therapy to children in orphanages and residents of impoverished communities in Costa Rica.

"In my first year as president, I have been very impressed by the extent to which our students willingly share their time and talents," said Marymount President Matthew D. Shank. "The spirit of service is strong in these young people, and that makes me hopeful for the future."

CNCS oversees the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school's commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

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