National Service Group Recognizes University of Houston for its Civic Engagement

The Corporation for National and Community Service Bestows Honor with Distinction

The University of Houston is among an elite group of higher education institutions honored for its dedication to volunteering and community engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced its 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to civic engagement. 

The University of Houston earned recognition on the organization’s “Honor Roll with Distinction” list, which included 113 institutions. UH was the only public institution in the state to receive the accolade. Other Texas recipients are Dallas Baptist University, Southwestern University and Texas Lutheran University. 

“We are humbled by this designation, as it is through service learning that we enhance the lives of others,” said UH President Renu Khator.  

The CNCS has been administering this award since 2006, inspired by the many students across the country who supported Gulf Coast relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

According to the CNCS website, last year college students served more than 118 million hours of community service across the nation with an impact 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,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education 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.”

At the University of Houston students have given many hours of service to enhance the lives of many around the Houston area. For example, the UH Mobile Eye Institute, administered by the College of Optometry, provides treatment to residents in neighboring communities. The People’s Law School is a free program UH offers that is focused on sharing information with the public about their legal rights.

More than 400 student organizations are registered with the UH Center for Student Involvement and are connected to various opportunities to get involved in the city in which they live.  The spectrum of groups include those with interests in pharmacy, law, writing, architecture, optometry and mental health, to name just a few.

Community engagement has been a priority for the university.  In 2008, the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded UH its highest designation for community-engaged institutions in the nation. The Foundation’s classification for community engagement measures an array of criteria that indicate the breadth and depth of a university’s service to the community and students’ curricular involvement in community issues.

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