WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Dec. 22, 2014 — West Liberty University was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (CNCS) recently. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
“We’re pleased be included in this national honor roll of service. West Liberty University students and staff support the community in many ways throughout the year and I’m grateful for their hard work and dedication in the area of community service. This designation is something we can all take pride in, especially during the holidays which are marked by a spirit of giving,” said President Robin C. Capehart.
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.
The Honor Roll was published by the Corporation for National and Community Service on Dec. 8 and this is the second consecutive year that WLU has earned this distinction. West Liberty projects submitted for consideration of the award included the University’s second service trip to the tornado-devastated region of West Liberty, Ky. WLU students and staff traveled to the stricken region to help out in the clean up and recovery, providing manpower to help rebuild the town after the powerful 2012 storm Pastor Debra Dague and Vice President for Community Engagement Jeff Knierim led this effort.
“Our first trip was in March 2012 and we returned in October to continue the rebuilding and recovery of this small community which shares our name. Our students worked hard and helped hundreds of folks who lost homes and businesses during that catastrophic storm,” said Knierim. The students also raised money to fund the trip and were able to donate $1,000 to the West Liberty, Kentucky Long Term Recovery fund.
The second project submitted was the Active Eagles wellness project, performed by students from WLU’s Physical Education Department, including a number of student athletes.
“This fun project helps our own community by providing after-school physical fitness activity, which is so needed today. The parents are very appreciative of this outreach which takes place at West Liberty Elementary School in the spring and fall,” Knierim explained. Professors Kathleen Wack and Melissa Hudson spearhead this service work.
The third service project that earned WLU the national designation was done by graphic design students who annually take on non-profits assignments and create visual marketing tools like logos and webpages. These students are under the guidance of Professor Jim Haizlett.
“This is an important project locally since it allows community non-profits to use their limited resources to serve their clients and their missions rather than on administrative costs for marketing,” he said. “We are so proud of our students and glad that their ongoing service results in a national honor.”
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges. As a result, more students are likely to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement that achieves meaningful and measurable outcomes in their communities, according to its website, nationalservice.gov.
CNCS, the federal agency for volunteering and service, has administered the award since 2006 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, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core. More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees can be found at nationalservice.gov/honorroll.