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2006.10.23 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Earns Community Service Honor Roll Listing

Omaha - On a day when more than 200 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) student volunteers were finishing up a three day's of work on a neighborhood cultural center, their university received notification of a national level honor.  UNO has been included in the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll that was announced Oct. 17.

The Honor Roll is co-sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.  The recognition is presented in cooperation with Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 college and university presidents, and supported by all the major national higher education associations.

More than 500 colleges applied for the Honor Roll.  UNO was listed among the 141 institutions recognized.

"We are excited to be among those honored.  Hundreds and hundreds of UNO faculty, staff, and students have made this possible," said Paul Sather, director of the UNO Service-Learning Academy.  UNO submitted ten volunteering and service learning projects in its application, including several Hurricane Katrina-related efforts.  "The university's service learning work has made a tremendous difference in the lives of people both in our metropolitan community and nationally."

This was the inaugural year for the Community Service Honor Roll, and the announcement was made in Chicago during a celebration of the Campus Compact's 20th anniversary.

"Higher education is a powerful engine of civic engagement and is central to achieving the President's vision of active citizens and connected communities," said Stephen Goldsmith, chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency tasked with fostering an ethic of volunteerism and service in America. "We applaud America's college students and the universities they attend for stepping up to help people in need."

The honor roll announcement came on the last day of UNO's Fall Break project.  More than 200 students spent three days doing renovation work on the South Omaha Arts Institute, also known as "Casa de la Cultura," near 27th and N in Omaha.  The organization is a non-profit agency that is devoted to cultural preservation and education for youth and adults interested in Latino arts.  Students from a variety of disciplines on campus took part.

"The volunteer work over fall and spring break is always gratifying, and it receives a great deal of community attention," said John Christensen, UNO interim chancellor.  "The role of a metropolitan university is to engage the community, and service learning exemplifies what a university can do to help others while teaching our students."

Since 1998, the Service Learning Academy has served more than 200 community agencies.  Also, this past year, UNO conducted an extensive outreach and relief effort to help the nation's other UNO—the University of New Orleans—as it recovered from Hurricane Katrina.  More than $6,000 was raised, a student from the University of New Orleans came to Omaha to discuss post-hurricane campus life, and students from Omaha, through a campus ministry organization, went to New Orleans as volunteers. 

The six colleges and universities that received top Honor roll recognition were broken into two categories—hurricane relief and community service. The President's Award for Hurricane Relief went to Jackson State University, Louisiana State University and Tulane University. California State University, Monterey Bay; and Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis received the President's Award for outstanding community service.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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