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BC Named to Higher Ed Community Service Honor Roll

03/14/13

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Mar. 13, 2013

Boston College has been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, an endorsement from the highest levels of the federal government of the University’s commitment to service and civic engagement.

Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually recognizes higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for exemplary service that achieves meaningful outcomes in their communities. The 2013 Honor Roll recipients were announced recently at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

“We congratulate the Honor Roll schools, and the millions of students and faculty for their dedication to service and improving their communities,” said Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which manages the Honor Roll in collaboration with the US Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.

“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“This recognition by the Corporation for National and Community Service confirms that Boston College students are serious about the challenge of a Jesuit education, the challenge to become a ‘woman or man for others,’” said Daniel Ponsetto, director of Boston College’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center. “Boston College students serve in so many ways throughout the year. With the Sesquicentennial year and the challenge to get everyone involved, we have seen a deeper commitment among our students to engage in projects that aid the underserved in Boston.”

Boston College is one of 690 colleges and universities named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The University’s commitment to community service is exemplified in its three nominated 2011-12 initiatives: 

   • BC Bigs is a partnership between Boston College and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay and the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. It includes traditional school-based mentoring matches as well as a nationally unique component where the child participants come to the BC campus for their one-to-one mentoring sessions. The children’s time on campus is comprised of structured programs — such as doing experiments in a chemistry lab, participating in scavenger hunts or learning how to step-dance — and unstructured time, when BC Bigs and Littles shoot hoops, play games or just talk.

   • The Appalachia Volunteers is the largest and oldest service organization at Boston College. During spring break, about 500 undergraduates conduct volunteer community service at more than 30 sites in locations from Ohio to Georgia. Much of the community service involves construction projects for Habitat for Humanity.

   • PULSE is an academic service-learning program that combines fieldwork with classroom study to educate students about social justice issues and put them in direct contact with marginalized populations in the Boston area that need assistance. Approximately 400 students take the 12-credit course in philosophy/theology and complete 10-12 hours a week in their field placement. Field placements include food pantries, homeless shelters, group homes, correctional facilities and afterschool programs.