SUNY College at Old Westbury has for the sixth consecutive year been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.
Old Westbury was again recognized for its mandatory First Year Student Engagement program, an initiative of the College’s Community Action, Learning and Leadership Program. The program places all freshman students in community service positions with area not-for-profits as part of a required course offered through the curriculum of the College’s Office of First-Year Experience. In 2012, some 450 students – approximately 10 percent of the College’s overall population -- were engaged in community service placements with area human service, educational, recreational, health care, environmental justice, governmental and other organizations.
“The values of integrity, community engagement, and global citizenship are key in an Old Westbury education,” said College President Calvin O. Butts, III. “This recognition of CALL supports our belief that preparing men and women to serve not only in the workforce but in our communities is, and must continue to be, an important focus for institutions of higher education.”
Honor Roll 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.
Unlike many college programs where service learning is a volunteer effort, the Old Westbury Community Action, Learning and Leadership (CALL) program is unique in that it is directly tied to the academic structure of the institution. Through the Old Westbury program, every freshman student is required to study the importance of civic engagement in their own lives and in the life of a community. Then, they are each required to take part in 50 hours of service with pre-selected regional not-for-profit partners or on campus. Throughout its history, the CALL program has benefitted from private support from such friends as the Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund of the Long Island Community Foundation, the National Grid Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation.
The recognition was announced by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.