In a reaffirmation of Ithaca College’s commitment to service-learning and civic engagement, the Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized the college with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The college has received the recognition every year since the honor roll’s inception in 2006.
The college earned its position on the honor roll based on students’ community service hours, which peaked at 48,911 in 2009, according to Deb Mohlenhoff, assistant director of community service and leadership development. Other factors that played a role in the college’s recognition were the amount of service-oriented courses offered and the level of incentives for student involvement.
“This is one of those honors that comes to Ithaca College not because of the work of one person, but literally hundreds,” President Tom Rochon said. “That makes it even more impressive as far as the record that Ithaca College has compiled.”
Mohlenhoff said she has seen an increase in student body response to giving back to the community.
“We have an incredibly generous student body,” she said. “More and more students are actually coming to campus with [service] experience in high school. We’re seeing an uptake in interest from our incoming student population.”
She also said some programs that bolstered the college’s community service efforts in 2009 were Relay For Life, Community Plunge, a program geared to first year college students and “Focus on the Future,” a photography mentorship program between students at the college and students from Spencer-Van Etten Middle School.
Sophomore business administration and theater arts management double major Madeline Spencer, who served as a Community Plunge leader last summer and was recognized for her service work, said she hopes more students will take the initiative to get involved in any capacity they can.
“Lots of the people that do the volunteering are the same people on every trip and every weekend … which is great, but I think we do need to reach out to those students who maybe have never done anything like that.”
To maintain this track record of community service recognition, Rochon said the college will continue to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of service programs already in place.
“We’re engaged in the careful examination of how we support service-learning … to see if there are things we need to be doing that we’re not doing right now,” he said