Daemen College Named to President's Higher Education Service Learning Honor Roll for Fifth Straight Year
Daemen Exceptional Commitment to Service Learning Recognized by Higher Education Service Learning Honor Roll
April 12, 2011
Contacts: Mike Andrei
Service Learning Coordinator
Daemen College is one of only three Western New York colleges named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. This is the fifth straight year Daemen has been recognized as a national leader for its service learning programs.
The opportunities for community volunteer work offered by Daemen reflect a longstanding commitment to service learning by the College. For more than a decade, Daemen College faculty, students, and staff have collaborated with City of Buffalo neighborhoods in Seneca Babcock, the West Side, and the Fruit Belt, to bring about positive change for residents in each community. This has been accomplished through achieving improvements in education and health care; helping to create economic self-sufficiency; and building environmental and civic awareness.
“Service learning is particularly critical for the institution. Fostering civic engagement and responsibility to our communities is a key part of our core mission,” stated Daemen College President Dr. Edwin Clausen. “It is vitally important for all students to engage in this kind of learning experience.
“The commitment to Service Learning that Daemen College has among all the region’s institutions of higher learning is exceptional,” he added. “It is a case of the apple not falling far from the tree, given the College’s founding principles of community service for the common good.”
In academic year 2010-2011, nearly 500 Daemen students contributed tens of thousands of service hours to Western New York communities; 25 service learning classes were taught by 21 faculty members in 11academic disciplines. These include: history & government; interdisciplinary studies; religion; philosophy; social work; foreign languages; visual & performing arts; business; education; international studies; and natural sciences.
Additional significant projects include the Refugee Teen Empowerment Program at Lafayette High School, coordinated by the Daemen Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement; Environmental Education in the Community class, working on environmental projects with students in Buffalo’s MLK School #39; and The Thomas Reynolds Center’s Summer ELA Theatre & Arts Camp.
“Our students are provided with a wide array of service learning opportunities,” said Daemen Service Learning Coordinator Susan Marchione. “The point is to change a student’s mind regarding their responsibility to the community. Service learning makes you think about it. It challenges your mind; it’s a transformative experience we want our students to have. And because of our commitment to service learning, we are able to build lasting relationships with a great many non-profit organizations, who value the energy and assistance our students bring to them.”
Each spring Daemen students perform service at over 50 different community sites, including those in three neighborhoods in which Daemen has established long-standing partnerships: Seneca Babcock, Buffalo’s West Side, and the Fruit Belt. Daemen students were involved as volunteers in after-school programs; health and human service agencies; youth and senior advocacy organizations; programs for international and refugee populations; and housing rehabilitation projects. In Seneca Babcock, Daemen students majoring in health care, English, education, and other subjects have conducted blood pressure screenings and other health tests, provided computer literacy training, and after school tutoring, among other assistance, to Seneca Babcock community residents.
Additionally, Daemen service learning students also coordinate Summer Reading Camps, organize Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs, and participate in a variety of environmental and economic recovery efforts.
Last spring, Daemen College students and staff joined WNY Apollo Alliance and local labor union members in providing free weatherization and energy related assistance to residents of Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock neighborhood. The 2010-11 Home Energy Conservation Kit (HECK) Project provided weatherization assistance to 50 homeowners, as well as the installation of in-home carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
In spring of 2010, Daemen was selected as one of only 88 lead agencies nationwide to help mobilize more than 500 community volunteers for the twenty second annual Global Youth Service Day. These projects joined students, staff, and community volunteers with Block Clubs in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood to clean up, construct and revitalize community gardens. Daemen students and GYSD volunteers also conducted clean ups along streets and in lots on Vermont Street, Connecticut Avenue, Fargo Avenue, and West Avenue, on Buffalo's West Side.
The goal of Daemen College’s service learning program is to provide opportunities for students to become engaged learners and informed citizens while addressing a myriad of social, economic, educational, and environmental problems faced by disadvantaged populations and communities.
Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes colleges and universities nationwide that support innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs – including commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovativeness of service projects; percentage of student participation in service activities; incentives for service; and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.