Again demonstrating a commitment to the Greater Lancaster community, the College was recognized in the 2012 edition of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll (PHECSHR). This was the third time F&M has applied for and been awarded this honor, with the first two times being in 2006 and 2007. This year’s award covers the time period between June 30, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
The College was notified of this honor on April 17 through a letter sent to Dan Porterfield, president of the College. The letter was from the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Citizen Service.
“This is a very prestigious award and F&M students, faculty, and professional staff should be very proud of this achievement,” said Susan Dicklitch, director of the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement.
According to Dicklitch, the PHECSHR was created in 2006 to recognize colleges and universities which support innovative and effective community service projects and service-learning programs. It is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The award is given each year to a limited number of institutions, and in 2012, only 635 colleges and universities received this honor. The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. It is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.
“F&M had to be able to show that it is committed to community service and the achievement of meaningful, demonstrable, and measurable outcomes in the Lancaster community,” Dicklitch said.
The PHECSHR looks at not only exemplary projects, but also the overall number of community service hours in programs such as community-based learning classes, co-curricular community-based learning, volunteer activities, work-study community service, and paid community service internships.
According to Dicklitch, F&M estimated the total number of students engaged in community service of any kind was 1,985, or 83 percent of the student population, and that the total number of all community service hours engaged in by the College’s students was 68,108.
While there were many volunteer projects worth including for this this award, the College focused on three projects Dicklitch referred to as “exemplary projects.”
These included the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), the Refugee Outreach Program, and the Local Economy Center.
Dicklitch explained these three projects collectively involved 130 students along with 14 faculty members and the work for each totaled 6,335 service hours and 1,013 individuals served.
However, Dicklitch also said there are plenty of other volunteer opportunities in which the College engages. These include Putting it Together in the Community (PIT), the Manheim Mentoring Program, and the community service program during first-year orientation, among others.
Dicklitch said the college plans to continue many of its previous volunteer opportunities, but also has an additional community service opportunity beginning this year.
This pilot program, entitled F&M Works in Lancaster, will connect 20 students with non-profit organizations in Lancaster, and was made possible through a grant from the Steinman Foundation. As such, students will work 10 hours a week for the entire year.
As for the future of F&M’s volunteer programs, there is no sign of waning, and the College plans to reapply for next year’s PHECSHR in December, which will cover the time period of June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2012.
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