The University has been named to the 2015 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The honor roll recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of best practices in campus community partnerships. UNC consistently has been recognized since the honor roll was created in 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact and the Interfaith Youth Core.
During the 2013-14 academic year, the most recent honor roll recognition, Carolina students, faculty and staff engaged in a wide range of public service activities that the Carolina Center for Public Service estimated added up to more than 1.94 million hours.
“Community engagement is essential to the University’s mission of teaching, research and service,” said Lynn Blanchard ’85 (MPH, ’89 PhD), the center’s director. “Carolina is proud to be a public university and to have students, faculty and staff so committed to helping to meet the needs of people in North Carolina and beyond. Public service is a defining characteristic of our campus community.”
Students, faculty and staff find opportunities to help others through an array of centers and institutes at UNC that make public service a focal point. In 2013-14, more than 2,000 students enrolled in the 89 service-learning courses offered in 28 departments, and 35 percent of the graduating class completed at least one service-learning course. Campus units reported more than 1,700 community partnerships involving more than 4,000 partners.
The Bonner Leaders Program, based in and staffed by the Campus Y, adapted a national model of student development, civic engagement and community leadership to provide sustained work with community-based nonprofit partners. Each year, a diverse group of freshman students who are eligible for federal work-study are chosen through a competitive process, and 37 students participated in 2013-14. They progress from direct service to positions involved with program development, communications, and community-based and public policy research. The time commitment is significant — more than 250 hours during every academic year with the same community-based nonprofit for more than 1,000 total hours. This service is complemented by weekly workshops and seminars exceeding 250 hours over four years.
The Community Empowerment Fund cultivates opportunities, assets and communities that support alleviating poverty and homelessness in local communities. Students at Carolina and Duke University run the nonprofit organization with a dual mission of empowering fund members to sustain transitions out of homelessness and develop student leadership. More than 100 UNC undergraduates volunteer each semester and train as advocates who work one-on-one with fund members — homeless and low-income people — to achieve housing, income and financial goals. The fund fosters strong member-advocate relationships that provide mutual accountability and support members as they transition out of homelessness. The program expands students’ understanding of poverty and deepens their connection to the local community.
Enrich ELL is a UNC student-run English tutoring program for non-native adults in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The program brings people together through one-on-one tutoring sessions and community building events. Enrich ELL offers hourlong English classes twice weekly. The program promotes opportunities to foster cross-cultural understanding and build lasting relationships between UNC students and community members. The program began in 1995 and focused on helping Latina women improve their English to better communicate with their children’s teachers. Today, the program serves non-native community members from around the world.