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Misericordia named to 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
03-5-13

University receives national recognition for service initiatives.
Misericordia University has been named by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for being one of the nation’s leading institutions of higher education committed to bettering communities through service initiatives and service-learning academic programs.

“We are proud to say that Misericordia has been named to the President’s Honor Roll every year that we have applied for it,” said Michael A. MacDowell, president of Misericordia University. “Misericordia has a rich tradition of responding to community needs through academic based service-learning programs, and through extensive outreach services in Campus Ministry and in club activities that support community programs. By imbuing in each student a sense of service to others, Misericordia is helping students discover the opportunities they need to be successful in both their careers and their lives.”

During the 2011-12 academic year, 2,593 Misericordia students engaged in 158,154 service hours to the community – a more than 49 percent increase from the previous academic year’s 105,582 service hours. The University’s academic service-learning programs had 849 students participate. Of those who did service, 602 students were engaged in at least 20 hours of community service per semester.

A total of 690 colleges and universities across the country were named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The award has been administered since 2006 in response to the thousands of collegians who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.

CNCS reports that in the 2011-12 academic year, 3.1 million college students engaged in community service and provided more than 118 million hours of service to communities across the country — service valued at more than $2.5 billion.

“Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,’’ said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s educational experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.’’

Honorees were 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.

The Religious Sisters of Mercy founded Misericordia based on four tenets that outline its mission of Mercy, Service, Justice and Hospitality. Since then, the University community has advocated service and volunteerism among its students, faculty and staff.

The Noxen Community Outreach Project, spearheaded by Campus Ministry, had 24 students volunteer 5,755 hours of their time in which they worked together for the betterment of the community. Overall, about 350 residents received aid and another 106 public school students received tutoring and mentoring sessions. The MU students worked in concert with Rev. Linda Bryan, pastor of the Noxen United Methodist Church, to offer case management, meal delivery and transportation services for the elderly and home-bound residents. At Lake Noxen Elementary School, Misericordia students tutored and mentored elementary school students, while they also scheduled and participated in activities and social events. Misericordia students also staffed the Pastor’s Food Pantry, community library and the Clothes Closet.

In the region, 442 freshmen, transfer students and student leaders participated in the Misericordia University Orientation Day of Service in which the University’s passion for service was practiced and instilled in others. Students provided 1,426 hours of service. During that time, they planted 442 trees, collected 14 bags of garbage, built three community gardens and offered a myriad of other needed services to the Back Mountain communities.

When Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit northeastern Pennsylvania, the campus community sprang into action to provide shelter and services as an evacuation site and groups of students volunteered to clean up the aftermath in the neighboring communities. Students relocated Holy Rosary Grade School from Duryea, Pa., to the former St. Mary’s School in Avoca, Pa., and other volunteers traveled into the flood-ravaged communities to offer their muscle and empathy. Overall, 1,051 people received assistance from the MU community and 898 hours of service were given to those in need.

For more information about service or service-learning at Misericordia University, please call Kristen Samuels, community outreach coordinator, Campus Ministry, at (570) 674-8041 or e-mail her at ksamuels@misericordia.edu, or call Kevin Feifer, director of service-learning, at (570) 674-6322 or e-mail him at kfeifer@misericordia.edu. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 37 programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.

Caption:

Misericordia University students, from left, Jack Young, South Brunswick, N.J.; Tyler Rowe, Basking Ridge, N.J.; Steve Cuccio, Jefferson, N.J.; Derek Hart, Carlisle, Pa.; Tommy DeMaio, Wayne, N.J., and Nick Gausepohl, Ocean City, Md., participate in Orientation Day of Service at Camp Orchard Hill.