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St. John Fisher College Honored for Community Service


St. John Fisher College Honored for Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education recently honored the nation’s leading colleges and universities, students, and faculty members, and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through community service and service learning. St. John Fisher College was admitted to the Honor Roll for its work both locally and globally.

“Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community,” said Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of CNCS. “We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

Service has always played an integral role at St. John Fisher College, encouraging the formation of student-run clubs and organizations including Students With A Vision (SWAV), Colleges Against Cancer, Teddi Committee, and more. This May, a group of students, faculty, and staff will travel to Kingston, Jamaica, to volunteer at the Jamaican Advantage Thru Sports for Youth (JASY) Day Camp. JASY provides two annual week-long summer camps for economically disadvantaged youth from Kingston. The main JASY camp utilizes sports training as a vehicle to improve self-esteem, physical well-being, teamwork, Christian values and cross-cultural learning.

The College’s First Generation Scholarship and Service Scholars Programs also provide financial assistance to students who participate in service. Since both programs’ inception, the College has graduated over 500 scholars, partnering with over 100 Rochester-area sites and volunteering 340,000 hours.

The College’s service-learning initiative has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years, with more service-learning courses offered each semester. During the 2011-12 academic year, 617 students participated in a total of 37 courses through sections taught by 21 faculty. Twenty-seven course sections with a service-learning component will be offered in fall 2012. Fisher is entering into the third year of the Learn and Serve America grant, and with additional resources provided by the College, the initiative has continued to provide positive student impact across the disciplines and sustainable community support.

Dr. Lynn Donahue, Service-Learning Initiative - Program Coordinator, said that service-learning is now required for every education student, which has resulted in regular offerings with partners like the Advocacy Center and East High Teaching Learning Institute. Additionally, a recently awarded Gannett Foundation grant will allow growth of three new after-school initiatives.

“It is an honor for the College to be recognized for service to the Rochester community,” said Dr. Donald Bain, President of St. John Fisher College. “We are dedicated to our mission of helping men and women build lives, create careers, and serve the community. We take great pride in our students and alumni, along with their commitment to service, that is central to the spirit of the College.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 schools to colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.

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