Again, Western honored for community service

Western Washington University has been selected for the national 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award, which recognizes higher education institutions across the country that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

“Western is committed to actively reaching out and offering innovative programs and services to foster the well-being of the communities we serve. Western’s students, faculty and staff are dedicated to making a difference and changing lives for brighter futures,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Western, which is the only public university in the state of Washington selected for Distinction, has received the award for the second consecutive year.

For the 2012 award, Western was recognized for three programs at Woodring College of Education: the Compass 2 Campus mentoring program; the Latino Outreach Project, which supports educational opportunity for the growing Latino population in Bellingham; and the Building Bridges with Migrant Youth program, which includes a series of interrelated projects designed to create a pathway to higher education for migrant and/or bilingual students from middle school through college.

“This is an extremely significant recognition for the community service efforts of Western and Woodring College of Education. It speaks to the dedication and commitment of an outstanding group of students and their faculty mentors. It represents the best of what the college and university are all about,” said Francisco Rios, dean of Woodring College.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina; the initiative celebrates the volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

"Compass to Campus and Woodring's Latino Outreach Project provide skilled support and positive role models wherever they are placed in our school. Our students naturally gravitate toward college students and find great tutors and mentors in these programs,” said Jay Jordan, principal at Shuksan Middle School.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five -- one of them being Seattle University -- received the Presidential Award.

“To receive this national recognition again is a fantastic honor, and further establishes our reputation as a university that is integral to the world around us. The Center for Service-Learning is proud of Western's commitment to prepare our students for their place as contributing citizens in a complex, global society. And we are grateful to Western's leadership who truly makes this award possible,” said Tim Costello, director of Western’s Center for Service-Learning.

Steven VanderStaay, vice provost for Undergraduate Education at Western, noted this is the latest of several recent national awards recognizing Western’s commitment to excellence and community service.

The CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.

At the 2009 campus tour day, Nooksack Elementary School student Emily Parson gets her Compass 2 Campus shirt signed by Western student mentor Stephanie Jones. File photo by Rachel Bayne for WWU