by Christine Baksi
July 26, 2012
Since 2010, ALLARM has worked with more than 50 community groups across the state to collect and interpret water-quality data. The grassroots training has provided more than 600 volunteers in 23 counties with resources and equipment to monitor creeks and streams for any harmful effects of drilling in the Marcellus shale region.
Dickinson has been admitted to the 2011 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes institutions of higher education that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. Dickinson has achieved honor-roll status, which is presented by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education, in three of the past four years.
"Being named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is a great national recognition for Dickinson," says Amanda Hanson, program coordinator for community service. "It demonstrates the determination, drive and service-focused spirit of our students."
In its Honor Roll application, Dickinson highlighted three distinct initiatives that demonstrate its commitment to community service: water-quality monitor training provided by the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM); a hunger-relief event for the international organization Stop Hunger Now; and the annual volleyball-a-thon, which since 2006 has raised a total of $40,000 for the American Red Cross of the Cumberland Valley.
In 2011, ALLARM developed a protocol to train communities to use scientific tools to monitor water-quality in Marcellus Shale drilling areas. ALLARM collaborated with a number of community partners, including PA Trout Unlimited, the Delaware River Keeper Network, the Mountain Watershed Association and the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Faculty, students and staff devoted nearly 20,000 hours of service to training and outreach efforts.
In April 2011, the Office of Religious Life and Community Service partnered with Stop Hunger Now to sponsor a meal-packaging event. More than 200 students, alumni, administrators and community members assembled 25,000 nonperishable meals for community centers and schools in Haiti, providing nutrition and an incentive for parents to keep their children in school.
The men's lacrosse team held its sixth-annual volleyball-a-thon in fall 2011. For 24 consecutive hours, 70 students competed against the men's lacrosse team, and 200 individuals made nearly $6,000 in donations to the American Red Cross of the Cumberland Valley.
Heeding the call
According to the CNCS, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using skills learned in the classroom. In 2010, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 312 million hours of service valued at more than $6.6 billion to communities across the country, and a total of 642 colleges and universities were admitted to the 2011 Honor Roll.
"Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community," says Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS. "We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to making service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students and empowering them to solve challenges within their communities."