SLC named to President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Sarah Lawrence College has been named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.  It is Sarah Lawrence College's first quest for a spot on the prestigious list.

The College's commitment to community work is given voice by President Karen Lawrence. In an address to community partners and local officials she said: "You help make available opportunities that allow our students to fulfill a very important part of our academic mission by providing much-needed public service, engaging students in such as areas as children and families, the environment, the arts…working together for the benefit of all. What our students gain from their work with you is integral to the work they do in the classroom."

In the last academic year, 421 Sarah Lawrence College students, approximately one-third of the student body, volunteered a total of 13,831 community service hours, assisting in various community programs while enhancing their academic work.

Community work occurred in several ways in the last academic year (2011-2012):

  • Ten service-learning/community-based courses involved 110 students: Poverty in America: Integrating Theory, Research, Policy and Practice;  Making History of Non-Western Art History: Africa, Oceania, and the Americas;  From the Plantation to the Prison: Criminal Justice Policies; The Offensive Against Civil Rights: Crime Policy and Politics; Poet as World Citizen; Latino Crossings; Teaching Conference in Dance; Studying Men and Masculinity; Governing through Drugs: Narco-Security and Development in Latin America; and Theatre Outreach
  • Two "days of service," where 114 students helped agencies by painting classrooms, weeding gardens, and playing memory games with the elderly
  • An Alternative Spring Break provided eight students the chance to participate in a Habitat for Humanity "build"
  • Seven year-long student-led initiatives involved 95 students
  • Twenty students volunteered in agencies to pursue their own interests as varied as different methods of teaching and learning to exploring museum education to assisting immigrants with learning English
  • America Reads/America Counts at six agencies with 74 work-study students serving approximately 950 children in local schools and afterschool programs was supported through the College's Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Community Partnerships (OCP) supports faculty with teaching resources, stipends for service-learning course development, a database of partner agencies, and monthly discussions to share teaching strategies about community-based work. The OCP helps students with transportation and maintains data on service work completed.

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. Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the Corporation for National Community Service has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the US Department of Education, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the American Council on Education, and Campus Compact.