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High community service participation highlighted in 2014 President's Honor Roll

Loyola press release - December 17, 2014

Loyola University New Orleans has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, an honor bestowed in recognition of students’ meaningful engagement in the community. Each year, the U.S. president recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in communities through service. This distinction is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, service learning and civic engagement.

In particular, service learning, the Loyola University Community Action Program, and community-based federal work study, were highlighted for their exemplary practices in connecting students to community partners.

During the 2013-14 academic year, 564 students participated in 16,359 service learning hours, while 54 percent of seniors had a service learning experience during their time at Loyola. Thirty faculty members taught a service learning course as well. For the community-based federal work study program, 27 students worked for 12 nonprofit off-campus employers, and 22 students worked in on-campus positions which directly benefitted the community. The program allows students to earn Federal Work Study awards, which are a part of their financial aid package, by working at partnering nonprofit agencies in the local community.

“Service learning is a tremendously important pedagogical tool. It is proven to increase student learning and helps students and faculty make valuable connections between academia and the community. Furthermore, in service learning courses, students are not only offered instruction about social justice issues, but they are also given tools to create positive change regarding those issues. This practice is essential to Loyola’s Jesuit identity; in particular, to demonstrating the key Jesuit value that we must be ‘men and women for and with others,’” said Jennifer Jeanfreau, interim director of the Office of Community Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship.

The Loyola University Community Action Program, or LUCAP, a student-led volunteer service and advocacy organization, offers students opportunities for direct service through its many projects in areas such as rebuilding, hunger and homelessness, tutoring and mentoring, and environmentalism. Through Green Light Gardens, a new initiative in LUCAP this year, students built backyard vegetable gardens for low and fixed income New Orleanians in partnership with Green Light New Orleans. Additionally, 11 student delegates attended the annual School of the Americas Watch November Vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, Ga.

The Office of Mission and Ministry at Loyola also sponsors Spark, a themed living community designed to let first year students experience all that the office has to offer while building lasting relationships with each other. This past year, Spark participants repainted several restrooms and reorganized the first-ever library of KIPP Central City Charter School and spent a day of retreat at the Rivers Retreat Center in Covington, La.

The 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community challenges, and as a result, more students are likely to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement that achieves meaningful and measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.