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Another national honor for Service Learning program

CSU Monterey Bay was a finalist for the Presidential Award as part of the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service.

The Corporation for National and Community Service received applications from more than 640 colleges and universities. Five received the Presidential Award; 14 were named finalists.

In 2006, the program’s inaugural year, CSU Monterey Bay was one of three recipients of the top award. It has been named to the Honor Roll each year since then. The university earned the top honor again last year, making it the only two-time recipient of the President’s Award.

"Not only is service learning woven into our curriculum," President Dianne Harrison said, "it also is part of our university's ethos of engaging with and contributing to our surrounding communities."

The university was honored in the category of general community service, which recognizes the quality of and commitment to community service initiatives, and emphasizes long-term partnerships and measurable outcomes as a result of the service.

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CSUMB is the only public university in California, and one of the few nationally, where service learning is a requirement for all students. Each year, nearly 50 percent of CSUMB’s students enroll in service learning courses contributing more than 65,000 hours of service to more than 250 schools, non-profit organizations and government agencies in the tri-county area. And service learning is an academic department, where issues of service, diversity, social justice and social responsibility are linked to the core curriculum.

“It’s wonderful to see our program being recognized nationally and even internationally,” said Dr. Seth Pollack, director of CSUMB’s Service Learning Institute.

“No other university in the country has made as significant a commitment to developing students’ capacity for service and social responsibility,” Dr. Pollack said.

“We have a very special program, and it feels great to again be recognized as a national leader.”

The awards ceremony was held March 12 in Los Angeles.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service. Learn more about the Service Learning Institute at CSUMB.