March 23, 2010
Press Release #10-052
The Corporation for National and Community Service awarded St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) a place on the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. Students at SMCM donated a total of 33,951 hours of service to local community organizations, such as Christmas in April, the Bayside Center Nursing Home, and the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.
"We are so proud of the work our students have done," said Larry Vote, acting president of SMCM. "Half of the student body at St. Mary's College has freely volunteered their time to better our community. Because of these students, many areas of St. Mary's County community life have benefitted, including Walden Sierra, Sotterly Plantation, and Three Oaks Center."
"Congratulations to St. Mary's College of Maryland and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities," said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
St. Mary's College of Maryland excels in community service clubs, providing student volunteers throughout the county to work on various projects. Last January, for example, at the request of Christmas in April, students and community members convened with little notice in Park Hall, Maryland, to clear out the underside of a trailer home and make room for a furnace and major bathroom repairs needed by the occupants, a woman and her three small children. Christmas in April decided it could not wait until its traditional April repair date.
For Goodness' Sake (FGS) is an umbrella club at SMCM with 150 students who organize community service programs during the school year, totaling 4,650 hours of community service in 2009. Students volunteer at the Three Oaks Center for homeless men, preparing meals for 30-40 residents, as well as eating and talking with the men. At the Bayside Center Nursing Home, students spend about an hour a week socializing with the residents. SMCM students also volunteer at Greenwell State Park, where they teach children with developmental disabilities how to ride and care for horses.
Circle K, the largest collegiate community service organization in the world, is also a popular service club with SMCM students. Last year, volunteers worked over 1,000 hours organizing events like a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and a coin drive for breast cancer research, among other activities. They also raised money at the St. Mary's County Oyster Festival for community youth programs and helped clean up Greenwell State Park.
U.S. college students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to a Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; for example, the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service pay for college.
The Corporation oversees the community service honor roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.
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 Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's, and The Princeton Review. Founded in 1840 as Maryland's "monument school" commemorating the state's first capital, SMCM is the state's only public honors college.
More than 2,000 students attend the college, which has the highest graduation rate for all Maryland public colleges and universities. The school's waterfront campus along the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland is home to the 2009 National Intercollegiate Sailing Association Co-ed champions.