"We're just thrilled that the work that our students do is being recognized again and again," said Rory L. Bedford, director of the university's Office of Service Learning. "It's not about the credit for the school. It's all about students getting great opportunities to supplement their academic experience with us."
Started in 2006, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually highlights college and university involvement in community problems and solutions while helping to put students on "a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve. "
"Grambling State University is proud to have received this recognition again," added Bedford. "Such distinction comes as a result of the support that service-learning has received from the administration, an outstanding faculty and a committed student body."
In 2005, Grambling State University became the first university in the University of Louisiana System to establish an Office of Service Learning. In 2008, only three years after establishing the office, the university incorporated Service-Learning as a part of the General Education requirements to assure that all students have a meaningful service-learning experience before they graduate. As the university prepares students for "citizenship in a democratic society," students must complete at least 160 hours of service learning activities. A minimum of 80 hours must be earned by doing academic service learning in a class-community setting. The other 80 hours can be achieved with approved civic engagement activities or community service projects.
In 2012, Grambling State earned honor roll status. In 2009, the university earned honor roll with distinction recognition.
According to Bedford, the university's faculty continues to adapt courses that fit the cycle of service learning. He said students participate in projects to help the community. Some of the projects in the past year have included:
- student volunteers assisting with ACT preparation workshops
- nursing students providing blood pressure and other screenings in rural areas
- students from the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing participating in Operation Stand Down, a social service program providing assistance to the homeless and others through counseling and other services
- Criminal Justice students mentored students at the Swanson Juvenile Center
- Theater students performed for underprivileged people in low-income areas to provide cultural enrichment
"These projects represent a microcosm of projects that are ongoing at the university," said Bedford.
"Grambling State University faculty has embraced service learning, realizing the important role 'service' has in preparing students for success in the national arena," said Connie Walton, provost and vice president of academic affairs. "Faculty design projects that are linked to the discipline and work closely with students in the completion of the projects. The faculty and students should be proud of the service that has been rendered to the community."