St. John’s was honored with the President’s Community Service Honor Roll this year for fostering exemplary community service programs and raising awareness of practices in campus community partnerships, according to the University’s website.
This marks the ninth-consecutive year that the University has been part of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The honor, recently announced by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), is the highest honor educational institutions and their students can receive for their commitment to volunteer service.
This year, SJU was featured in three Honor Roll categories: General Community Service (with distinction), Economic Opportunity and Education.
“We are honored that once again the extraordinary efforts of our University community have been recognized by the President’s Honor Roll,” said Deanne A. Southwell, Ed.D, Executive Director of St. John’s Vincentian Institute for Social Action. “As a Catholic and Vincentian institution, St. John’s is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and marginalized. This acknowledgement reflects our dedication to our mission, and the impact our students continue to have on the community.”
Three St. John’s entities received honors “with distinction” in the General Community Service segment. They were Academic Service-Learning, the Ozanam Scholars Program and Campus Ministry.
Last year, according to the University’s website, St. John’s students performed 139,710 hours of service.
“Only few universities receive this, so to be recognized is an honor,” said Fr. Tri Duong, C.M., Campus Minister for Vincentian Service. “Thank you to all of the students who are going out, sacrificing their time, and serving other people. We need to continue to be the unity of not only the students, but the people in our area.”
CNCS cited St. John’s for its “exemplary community service programs” and its efforts to “raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships.”
“As a member of the Catholic Scholars Program, I’m really proud that St. John’s continues to be recognized for our commitment to community service learning and civic engagement,” junior Rebecca Fowler said. “It’s one of our responsibilities as Catholic leaders to lead effective service and here at St. John’s, we do so in the mindset of a Vincentian.”
Fowler has been an active participant of service opportunities on campus. Ever since she was a freshman, she has dedicated her time to opportunities such as the Freshman Plunge, which she now leads, the Ronald McDonald House, the LA Plunge, Midnight Runs and St. John’s Bread and Life. She says she is planning to go on the Panama Plunge this year and continue to serve her community.
“We have a wide range of service that we offer students and people in the campus ministry office are very enthusiastic and passionate about their jobs,” sophomore Jennie Lynn Martino said. “They make the service feel welcome to everyone even if you’re not Catholic. Students find that helping other people can be essential, but also a fun time.”
Martino, a student who has led Midnight Runs since the spring semester of last year, says the school should continue to “advertise service in as many areas as possible.”
Martino continued, “I know the school requires students to do service, which everyone isn’t too crazy about at first, but it’s a good way to open people’s eyes to it.”