West Liberty University was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recently. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

“We are pleased to achieve this honor and I personally thank our students, faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication in the area of community service. This designation is something we can all take pride in,” said President Robin C. Capehart. Institutions were cited for their achievements in general community service or in one of two special focus areas which align with the United States president’s education and innovation priorities, the Promise Neighborhoods model and early childhood education.Logo

West Liberty projects submitted for consideration of the award included the service trip to the tornado-devastated region of West Liberty, Ky. WLU students and staff packed up and traveled to the stricken region to help out in the clean up and recovery, providing necessary items like food and clothing along with manpower to help rebuild the town after the powerful 2012 storm.

Along with this service trip work, the ongoing community outreach of the dental hygiene department was another project that illustrated WLU’s commitment to service. Dental hygiene students completed a total of 800 cumulative community service hours during the 2011-2012 academic year, that included oral cancer screenings and other work with community non-profits and high-risk groups.

Finally, the Hilltoppers Choose Hope service project was included in the award consideration. This project consisted of a 12-hour walkathon that raised more than $5,800 for the Schiffler Cancer Center patient support fund.

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006.

“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”

College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion.

“Across the nation, in the communities in which HUD works, I’ve seen many students who have committed themselves to assisting individuals and strengthening neighborhoods,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “HUD congratulates these institutions and is honored to be part of this effort that recognizes colleges and their students for putting the common good before personal gain.”

CNCS manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.

The 2013 Honor Roll recipients were announced at the American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting, Leading Change, on March 4 in Washington, D.C. WLU is one of 690 leading U.S. colleges and universities, students, faculty and staff to receive this honor for 2013.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading higher education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Through the agency’s Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program, CNCS gives education institutions access to tens of thousands of AmeriCorps alumni with millions of dollars in Segal Education Awards for tuitions and fees.