SCSU recognized in President’s Honor Roll for Community Service
Aaron Berkowitz – General Assignment Reporter
There aren’t many honors higher that can be achieved by a university than to be recognized by the President of the United States. SCSU was acknowledged and selected to be apart of President Obama’s 2014 list of Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
The spot the university earned on the Honor Roll highlights the role SCSU played in solving issues faced in the community. As a result of students establishing more of a connection with the community through their civic engagement, they are more likely to continue to live their life with the same helpful mindset they had when volunteering, said Dr. Tracy Tyree, vice president of Student Affairs.
“We [SCSU] were recognized with Distinction in two categories. One being general community service and the other being in education,” said Tyree. “I think the recognition of Southern is a really nice way of saying ‘thanks’ for the work that we do in the community, as well as a way of showing that we are committed to the words in our mission statement and we have a strong community focus.”
According to NationalService.org, the program is supposed to increase public awareness of the impact a campus can have on a community, encourage more universities to strengthen their commitment to community engagement as well as increase the number of students that actually participate in the various forms of community service.
Dr. Tyree said although the community more noticeably benefits from the help Southern students offer, the students themselves also gain tremendously.
“The experience of making a difference, no matter how great or small, in the lives of others and learning that different people have different access to resources is very powerful,” said Tyree. “It’s important that if we’re going to be productive citizens in the world around us, we need to better understand the world as a whole and the different circumstances that people live under.”
Dean of Student Affairs Dawn Cathey said the students and staff that participate in the community engagement share a similar love for wanting to improve the world around them and it makes all the difference. Cathey also said she believes that when Southern students go out to volunteer in the community they are spreading a positive message to the youth.
“Southern students volunteering in the community is not only improving the conditions of the surrounding areas of the university, but its also promoting the idea furthering your education,” said Cathey. “When they go into a school, regardless if it’s a kindergarten class or a high school, when a college student enters that classroom they possess a lot of power.”
Cathey said she also believes the Southern students who volunteer can sometimes gain some new insight into what they actually want to do with their lives.
“When you have the opportunity to go out into the community and formulate new relationships with people who could genuinely use your help you sometimes realize a new passion that could lead you into a new direction for careers or potential internships,” said Cathey. “Students who have volunteered are subconsciously presented with the opportunity to hone strengths they didn’t know they possessed in order to pursue new opportunities. That’s something our university should be proud of.”
Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas