Both the number of Mary Baldwin University students who engaged in community service and the number of service hours performed by those students in 2011–12 rose from the previous year. These kinds of strides in Mary Baldwin’s already acclaimed service efforts earned it a spot on 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 volunteerism, service-learning, and civic engagement, and Mary Baldwin has earned a place on the honor roll since its inception in 2006. This year, 695 institutions made the list.
In addition to the increase in service hours and the number of students engaged in service, 2011–12 also brought specific initiatives that raised the college’s service profile.
Last spring, a group of students joined Mary Baldwin Artist-in-Residence Claudia Bernardi to bring her model of peace through art — employed in war-torn areas of the world — to a low-income neighborhood in Waynesboro. The 16 Mary Baldwin students enrolled in Art History and Civic Engagement helped create a colorful mural and expand a community garden with the help of elementary school students, teachers, non-profit organizations, and local residents.
Also highlighted were the efforts of a group of Mary Baldwin business students to provide tax assistance to members of the local community through a local non-profit and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, resulting in returning nearly $97,000 in tax preparation fees and income tax credits.
Plans launched at Ignite Staunton, an information exchange designed to foster and inspire the city’s creative community, also helped earn Mary Baldwin a spot on the honor roll. Those plans included starting a voter registration drive at a local food pantry, creating a community bike-share program, and repurposing a campus greenhouse for student-grown local food.
“Congratulations to Mary Baldwin University, its faculty, and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.
More information on eligibility and the full list of Honor Roll awardees can be found online at nationalservice.gov.