SUU on President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Published: May 18, 2011 | Category: Academics

Southern Utah University students and educators have earned rank on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second consecutive year, granting the Thunderbird community the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

Said Earl Mulderink, director of Community Engagement at SUU, “This award obviously builds upon SUU's 2010 designation as a Carnegie Community Engaged Institution.”

Just 115 U.S. colleges and universities received the 2010 Carnegie classification for community engagement.

This most recent recognition from the President’s Honor Roll is further proof of the University’s commitment to, as SUU President Michael T. Benson put it, “stewardship of place.”

When it comes to service, SUU is among the very best. Mulderink continued, “In receiving the President's Honor Roll award, we're in good company with other universities and colleges. This national award is definitely becoming more competitive as just over 600 universities received at least Honor Roll designation, and about 250 institutions that applied were turned down.”

In its second successful bid for appointment to this elite honor roll, SUU’s students logged an astounding 76,191 hours in community service in projects spanning nearly every academic discipline from the Fall 2009 through the Summer 2010 semesters.

A sample of the projects counted within this impressive total includes complimentary residential drafting from engineering students; work within the city government across varied disciplines; event-based fundraising planned and executed by students preparing for work in hotel, resort and hospitality management; community nutrition classes, health clinics and safety fairs by SUU’s science students; and international humanitarian work and fundraising for needy communities as well as for those impacted by large-scale natural disasters.

Through such efforts, SUU’s students have spread the Thunderbird influence across the globe.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 641 colleges and universities on into the 2010 Honor Roll.

A press release from the Corporation for National and Community Service stated, “We salute all the Honor Roll awardees for embracing their civic mission and providing opportunities for their students to tackle tough national challenges through service.”

Of the 2010 Honor Roll nod, Benson said, “While this certainly marks a point of pride for SUU and places our University in very elite company, we are most excited for this recognition as testament to SUU’s commitment to our community and to engaging students in important outreach and service opportunities.”

The University’s mission and newly created “Academic Roadmap: 2010-2013” both emphasize community and social responsibility as “essential to the education process.” It would seem this most recent success is just the beginning of the innovative and integrative service opportunities SUU’s students will use to both impact their communities and enhance their own academic and professional success.

In fact, beginning next year, the SUU curriculum will include an Experiential Education Requirement (EER) that was created to give students hands-on experience in the field of their choosing. Service learning will play a key role in this initiative and in broadening students’ perspectives, interests and impact.

Said Mulderink, “I'm excited about the changes underway at SUU to more fully institutionalize service, service-learning, and other forms of engaged teaching and learning.”

According to Mulderink, the President’s Honor Roll award comes at a good time, as the university will establish a "Community Engagement Center" as of July 1, 2011 that will officially and physically replace the Service & Learning Center. IN addition to coordinating all such service efforts previously run through the Service & Learning Center, the new CEC will also help to administer the Experiential Education Requirement (EER) as one of the five Engagement Centers/Tracks that support the Academic Roadmap.

Additional information about service learning at SUU is available at or

For more information about SUU’s Experiential Education requirement and the University’s Academic Roadmap, visit

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit

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