Western receives honor for community service

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Western Washington University has been selected for the national 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award, which recognizes higher education institutions across the country that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

“We’re proud to once again receive this recognition, because making a positive difference in the world beyond our campus is a fundamental part of who we are at Western.  Students come to Western looking to put their higher education to higher purposes, and our faculty and staff are so good at helping them realize those goals here in our local communities, and around the world,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Western is the only public institution on the West Coast that has made the Honor Roll with Distinction every year since 2010.

For the 2014 award, Western was recognized for: the programs and services of the Center for Service-Learning, Compass 2 Campus and the Human Services program.

The Center for Service Learning offers services that facilitate partnerships that meet the common goals of the WWU, local, regional and international communities.

“Once again, the Center for Service-Learning is honored to be recognized for the high quality of Western’s rigorous and engaging education. Western offers many powerful examples of how students apply their learning for the greater good.  Together with community members, we create positive change, strengthen communities, and live our education,” said Tim Costello, director of the Center for Service-Learning.

Compass 2 Campus is a program at Western designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for 5th-12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and diverse backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by university students.

“Our engaged and dedicated Western student mentors are positively changing the lives of many children in our community, which is primary goal of Compass 2 Campus,” said Cyndie Shepard, director of Compass 2 Campus.

The Human Services Program, part of Western’s Woodring College of Education, prepares professionals to work in a variety of settings as case managers, advocates, grant writers, youth workers, volunteer coordinators, human resource specialists, fundraisers, trainers, para-educators or advocacy specialists for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, or other social issues.

“The Human Services program has a 45-year history of close engagement and collaboration with community partners. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, wherein our students provide much needed services for our partners, while adding to their academic experience through applied practice. Our program would not be nearly as sought after and successful if not for our community engagement,” said John Korsmo, associate professor and academic program director for Human Services.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina; the initiative celebrates the volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.

Western has received numerous recognitions for its community outreach and service. Compass 2 Campus Director Cyndie Shepard has received a national Point of Light Award and also was named to the Northwest Hall of Fame for her work with Compass 2 Campus. Also, Western is No. 1 on the 2014 Peace Corps rankings among medium schools with 65 Western undergraduate alumni currently serving.