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University placed on honor roll for community service

By Sam Mintz
On March 19, 2012

Brandeis was placed on the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, according to a BrandeisNOW press release. This is the second time that the University has received this honor; the first was in 2010.

According to BrandeisNOW, the honor roll "recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities."

Director of Community Service Lucas Malo said in an interview with the Justice that the award distinguishes Brandeis from other institutions and illustrates the impact that Brandeis has in the Waltham community.

"It says how committed Brandeis students are to service. It is part of [students'] cores and one of the reason why [students] come here," he said.

The honor roll, which began in 2006, is run by Learn and Serve America, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to its website, the Corporation is a "federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve."

This year, 642 schools were recognized in the annual honor roll. Other Boston-area schools that were mentioned include Bentley University, Boston College and Tufts University.

Malo also elaborated that students here often think "outside the box" when taking part in community service.

"Some students just do hands-on service hours, some students do global issues where they are not even facing the concerns right in front of their faces but they are still passionate about making that change," he said.

He pointed to fundraising efforts, like Relay for Life, which was held this past weekend, to demonstrate students' commitment and passion for service.

"Hundreds of students came out on St. Patrick's Day. I don't think that would have happened on another campus."

While Malo welcomed the recognition from the honor roll, he also explained that there is a higher classification of recognition, called the Carnegie Classification for Civic Engagement. The University plans to apply to this classification, as it has more of a direct impact on rankings and funding. The Carnegie Foundation will be accepting applications to the highly competitive classification in 2015.

Community services at Brandeis covers a wide range of activities, including tutoring, meal donatin and medical work. Many of the most popular service activities are offered by the Waltham Group, which, according to the University website, "responds to the needs of the community and is a center for service and advocacy" and is widely thought to be the most popular club on campus.

On April 30, the Department of Community Service along with Academic Services, the Student Union and many other organizations will be sponsoring the 3rd annual Celebration of Service at Brandeis. According to the University website, the event is a "community-wide celebration of Brandeis' commitment to Service and Social Justice." University President Frederick Lawrence will speak at the event. 

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