Radford recognized for community service efforts

Radford University has earned national recognition for its commitment to community service.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has placed the university on its 2015 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The initiative recognizes higher education institutions that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships.

The distinguished honor recognizes higher education institutions in four categories: General Community Service, Interfaith Community Service, Economic Opportunity and Education.

Radford is among seven public Virginia institutions in the General Community Service category.

“It is a great honor to be selected for the Honor Roll," said Erin Webster-Garrett, director of the Scholar-Citizen Initiative (SCI). "I can personally attest to the many ways in which a commitment to service - to connecting knowledge and resources to tackle today’s most challenging issues - is one of the defining qualities of a Radford University experience. Across colleges, units and disciplines, the Highlander tradition is one built around our appreciation for and dedication to community and to each other.”

During 2014-15, more than 3,200 Radford University students engaged in academic service-learning and contributed more than 100,000 hours of work in the early education and human service areas alone, including: serving pre-K through second-grade school children through art therapy programs; hosting K-12 students and teachers from regional school districts for science enrichment programs; and dedicating more than 3,000 hours of community nursing service in health education and screenings in local school districts and homeless shelters.

Highlighted in the university’s application for the CNCS award are the adoption of SCI as the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to infuse civic-learning outcomes across the curriculum and recognize student excellence in servant-leadership and public scholarship; and implementation of university-wide days of service, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, organized by Student Affairs and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Holiday Food Drive, organized by the Greek Life community.

Exemplary projects showcased in the application included:

  • Appalachian Arts and Studies in the School. Student mentors paired with regional high school students identified by their teachers as "college-able, but not college-bound.”
  • America Reads. Student tutors worked nine to 12 hours per week with individual children and support classroom teachers and activities.
  • Hunger backpack programs. Students in the Highlander Helpers club and in the Doctorate of Psychology (Psy. D.) graduate program provided kindergarten through sixth-grade students from low-income families food for the weekend and over the summer months when school meals are not available.
  • RU Science Days. Seven faculty and 17 student volunteers from the College of Science and Technology hosted elementary and middle-school groups from the local K-12 public schools for a series of enrichment programs focused on encouraging science literacy.

The CNCS has administered the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll award since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact and the Interfaith Youth Core.

The CNCS is a United States federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its core programs of Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund.

For more information on CNCS, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service website.

Dec 19, 2016
Mary Hardbarger