by Adventist Today News Team

Five universities and colleges across the United States were named to the 2013 United States President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and one is a Seventh-day Adventist institution, La Sierra University in Riverside, California. This is the highest honor a college or university in the United States can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and humanitarian engagement.
La Sierra received the award for its efforts to improve educational and developmental outcomes for children in low-income communities. At a ceremony in Washington DC last week, university president Dr. Randal Wisbey received the 2013 Presidential Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) during the annual meeting of the American Council on Education.
“Service to others is a key part of La Sierra’s mission and indicative of the Christian ethos that drives our work as a learning community,” Wisbey said. “I am humbled by the way in which students, faculty and staff daily live out this value through formal and informal outreach efforts to help people in local and global communities.” The award was presented by Jonathan Greenblatt, special assistant to President Barack Obama, and Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS.
Projects in La Sierra’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative included tutoring and mentoring elementary students, fundraising for afterschool programs in the surrounding public school district, and interactive learning experiences created by biology and communication students in the university’s natural history museum. Total service hours, including all local volunteering and overseas student missionary work, included nearly 1,900 students putting in some 85,000 hours last year. For academic Service-Learning classes alone, about 900 La Sierra students provided more than 14,000 hours of service.
The four other 2013 Presidential Award winners were Perimeter College in Georgia, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, the University of Connecticut, and Nazareth College in New York. A total of 690 higher educational institutions were named this year to the organization’s honor roll.
CNCS, an independent federal agency, has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.
This report is based on a story distributed by the Adventist News Network, the official news service of the denomination.