March 18, 2010

SIUC recognized for volunteer efforts

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Salukis donate thousands of hours to improve lives and communities and their contributions generate well-deserved recognition.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) recently announced the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and it includes Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, the USA Freedom Corps and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development sponsor the Honor Roll program, which recognizes colleges and universities for demonstrating commitment to volunteerism, service-learning and civic engagement.

“I was delighted to learn that SIUC has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” said Larry H. Dietz, vice chancellor for student affairs. “It is a fitting tribute to the thoughtful and diligent work of our students, faculty and staff who serve others in many communities both in close proximity to and distant from SIUC. These efforts embrace SIUC’s goal of producing citizen leaders and represents the best of the intellect and the hands-on practical approach to learning and serving others. Congratulations to all of you who are making us proud Salukis.”

The recognition is for the 12-month period from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. During that time span, 9,070 SIUC students were involved in some type of community service with 454 contributing at least 20 hours per semester. Nearly 3,100 students were engaged in academic service learning, while nearly 6,000 were active in various other avenues of community service. In all, the students donated 86,225 hours helping others in one way or another.

The activities of the Saluki volunteers are quite diverse. A group of 53 students and three staff members participated in Alternative Spring Break, building homes for Habitat for Humanity in Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana, and working with children in the Katrina-devastated New Orleans Ninth Ward.

Outreach activities of the University and its students and faculty also include the dental sealant program from the School of Allied Health, and the Abundant Health Resource Clinic where the University partners with Carbondale, the Jackson County Health Department and Southern Illinois Healthcare to provide care for people who otherwise have no access to health care. In addition, students from SIUC also volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale, help with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels, the Good Samaritan House, community clean-ups and much more.

“As coordinator, it is always nice for me to see our students recognized for their service efforts. The honor roll also recognizes exemplary programs undertaken by institutions of higher education. It is a great way to highlight the joint efforts of our community partners, students, faculty and staff who strive to fulfill our University’s civic mission,” said Mythili Rundblad, student development coordinator.

The Saluki volunteerism spirit continues to grow and thrive. During the fall 2009 semester alone, 3,536 students participated in the Saluki Volunteer Corps, contributing about 25,000 hours of their time to a variety of worthwhile causes. In addition, the 10 members of the Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps team mentored and helped more than 300 children with schoolwork and more at the Carbondale, De Soto, Murphysboro and Unity Point school districts.

SIUC was one of 26 institutions of higher learning in Illinois earning spots on the federal agency’s honor roll.