University Named to President's Community Service Honor Roll for Fourth Consecutive Year

Pacific University has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth consecutive year.

The honor roll is part of the Corporation for National & Community Service's strategic commitment to engage millions of college students in service, and celebrate the critical role of higher education in strengthening communities.

It recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes for their communities.

Pacific is just one of eight colleges or universities in Oregon, and approximately 760 junior or senior colleges nationally, to be named to the honor roll.

The program places a strong emphasis on long-term institutional support of community service, with special consideration of how service results in measurable improvement in a community.

The CNCS considers all aspects of a college or university's community service efforts, including course work, student-led co-curricular activities and staff initiatives.

During the 2012-13 academic year, 1,490 Pacific students engaged in academic service learning, and an additional 1,076 students engaged in a variety of community service activities, combined about 79 percent of all students, resulting in a total of at least 117,760 community service hours.

Pacific University's strong commitment to service has been a hallmark of the institution since its founding in 1849 as the Tualatin Academy.

The university requires all College of Arts & Sciences undergraduate students to perform 40 hours of community engagement as part of its Civic Engagement Cornerstone. Students satisfy this requirement by taking one of 25 designated civic engagement courses, or by undertaking a civic engagement project. Some choose to do both. In 2012-13, 329 students completed a course, and in doing so, collectively provided more than 2,000 hours service, including tutoring in local schools and organizations, removing invasive species and restoring habitat throughout the local ecosystem and providing food, shelter and health services to those in need. Additionally, a day of service for first-year students, community service student groups and fundraising efforts by fraternities and sororities for low-income housing and food banks are just a few more ways the undergraduate community cares for its neighbors.

Service also flourishes in the graduate professional programs.

College of Optometry students provided care to more than 8,600 individuals, including migrant workers locally and patients in Thailand, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, Peru, Nicaragua and Romania as part of its Amigos Eye Care humanitarian organization. On average, students spend about eight to 10 hours per day over three to four days helping patients during an Amigos trip. A trip to an impoverished region in Guatemala in 2012-13 allowed Pacific optometry students to examine 888 people and deliver 369 pairs of eyeglasses. The trip allowed Amigos to partner with a local organization founded by Optometry alumnus Scott Pike OD. Over the years, more than 80 Pacific Optometry students and six faculty have volunteered for the week-long trip, and 16 have made return visits. Students also assisted local elementary schools in implementing vision screening programs and protocols. As a result of the Amigos trips, more than 150 patients have been referred for cataract surgeries.

Nearly 270 students in the College of Education provided more than 98,900 hours of educational support to local schools, including tutoring and professional development services to 7,150 K-12 students 86 teachers, respectively.

Pacific's community service efforts are largely coordinated or supported by its Center for Civic Engagement. The center helps connects students, faculty and staff with more than 75 community partners to serve the common good, revitalize communities and facilitate learning within a community context.

The center exists to help instill in students the value of lifelong active citizenship, a sense of empowerment, development of critical thinking skills and the capacity to reflect on one’s own set of values.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

Dec. 9, 2014