Lawrence lauded for community service – KH

Michael Schreiber

Lawrence’s recent efforts in serving the Appleton community have paid off in a big way for the third straight year, placing Lawrence on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Lawrence was recognized Feb. 9 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that, according to its Web site at http://www.nationalservice.org/, is a “public-private partnership [serving to] improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.”
According to the CNCS Web site, the honor roll recognizes schools that demonstrate a dedication to producing “innovative and effective community service and service-learning programs.”
Among Wisconsin colleges and universities, Lawrence places with three other institutions in being listed on the service honor roll each year that a list was published.
“That we’ve been on the honor roll consistently reflects on the dedication of Lawrence’s students to a focus on community service, a focus they’ve had for many years,” said Alan Parks, professor of mathematics and Pieper family professor of servant leadership.
Parks said he was pleased that people at Lawrence could “see how we measure up against other institutions. … We’re a small school, but we contribute a significant level of service in the community.”
Parks expressed his hope that the honor-roll recognition would encourage students to keep up Lawrence’s standards of service, adding that Lawrence “can do even more.”
Ron Peck, assistant professor of biology and advisor to the Lawrence service group Confidence and Determination in Youth, expressed his amazement that Lawrence students find time to serve despite their demanding schedules.
“I’m extremely impressed by Lawrence students’ desire to serve others as well as their ambition and logistical aptitude,” Peck said.
Looking to the future, Parks said Lawrence will be moving to create more opportunities for service-learning, bridging the gap between students’ academic programs and their service in the community. Channeling students’ volunteerism in this way will “level skills gained [through coursework] towards service.”
On a more tangible level, Parks said Lawrence’s recognition by the CNCS will “foster a more positive view of Lawrence in the community.”
Lawrence benefits from being viewed as a good neighbor, but the Lawrence community also benefits in a more direct way. “Faculty, students and staff do a lot of things for the community that are often low-profile” Parks said. “The honor roll gives them some of the recognition they deserve.”
Linda Fuerst, advisor to Lawrence honor societies Lambda Sigma and Mortar Board, continued in this theme, saying the national recognition of “the service the students of Lawrence University give to the campus, the Appleton community and beyond is an honor that is greatly deserved.”
“I believe our students feel strongly about giving back to their community, and an honor such as this recognizes the good work that they do,” she continued. “Whether as a member of a service group such as Mortar Board, Lambda Sigma, CADY or a fraternity or sorority, as an individual working through the volunteer center, or as a student working within an academic department, or even as a person whose volunteer hours are never reported, we have unique individuals on this campus who are willing to give of their time and energy to help those that are in need. Lawrence is a very special place, with very special people who no matter what the recognition might be, would still give of themselves unselfishly.

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