USF volunteers make honor roll

Increasing volunteer programs and service hours have earned USF a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which honors universities for their community efforts each year.

Universities are chosen based on criteria such as recorded community service hours, the number of students participating in service activities, faculty involvement and ways in which community service is integrated into the institution.

Colleges and universities apply for the award each September, said Siobhan Dugan, spokeswoman for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“When a college or university applies, they decide what goes into the application package,” she said.

USF’s application included more than 2,000 recorded hours, which reflects community service done both through the University and by students on their own, said Amy Simon, associate director for the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement.

She said there has been a definite increase in the number of students involved in service projects at USF — especially for large, University-organized events.

“We have had more turnout on all projects this year than we have had in the past,” she said.

Some service projects have even had to turn people away.

Simon said she is not sure what has drawn more students to volunteerism, but it could be the new Marshall Student Center or inspiration from President Barack Obama.

For example, Stampede of Service, an annual University-wide service project, attracted 2,600 students this year — 800 more than in 2008.

“We don’t even do much marketing,” Simon said.

As former President George W. Bush initiated the program, Dugan said she was unsure of the federal award’s future. However, considering Obama’s public commitment to service, the program is likely to continue.

USF has received the award since the program began in 2006 and is one of 635 schools to make the Honor Roll this year. Last year, the University was on the Honor Roll with Distinction.

Six schools received a presidential award, three of which had service projects based on helping high school students go to college.