Heidelberg earns place on National Honor Roll for Community Service

Mar 13, 2013

Heidelberg University has been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning and civic engagement.

The President’s Higher education Community Service Honor Roll honors the nation’s leading education institutions and their students, faculty and staff for their commitment to bettering their communities through service. These institutions reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

In all, approximately 700 universities nationwide were named to the service honor roll. In Ohio, 25 colleges and universities – including Heidelberg – are part of the list.

“We believe strongly in preparing our graduates to be active leaders and participants in our ever-changing world,” said President Robert H. Huntington. “We’re honored to be among our peers who share this same commitment. Our students are the energy driving our commitment to service.”

Heidelberg has a long history of service learning. Students are involved in service projects from the moment they step onto campus through BergServe, a community service volunteer program required of all incoming students as part of their orientation. Throughout the academic year, there are numerous opportunities for students to participate in service. One student organization, Alpha Phi Omega, is dedicated entirely to providing service to the campus and the community. Students enrolled in the Honors Program complete a service learning component and all students who are members of Greek organizations also commit to service as a core value.

One program gaining popularity at Heidelberg is the Alternate Spring Break program. For one week each spring, groups of students dedicate a week of their spring break to service projects in urban and rural settings across the U.S. The trips are student-coordinated and provide a tremendous impact and a learning model for servant leaders. Last weekend, student teams returned from service projects in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, working with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Back Bay Mission.

Heidelberg’s commitment to service extends beyond students. Through the Berg Service Challenge, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are encouraged to join students in making a commitment to service by dedicating 10 hours each semester to volunteer for a specific organization. Each January, the university observes a “day on in service” to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., fanning out into the community to assist organizations and agencies with various service projects.

The commitment to service, Huntington said, is a direct reflection of the university’s mission and vision to place students on a lifelong path to civic engagement. “We are committed to preparing our students to become global citizens who communicate effectively, think critically and serve thoughtfully,” he said. “Communities are strengthened when we all come together. The habit of service is one of the most valuable and meaningful ideals we can instill in our students,” he said.

The Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) has administered the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service since its inception in 2006. CNCS was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Collaborating agencies include the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.