Dominican receives national award for community service

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for a fifth year has honored Dominican University of California as a leader among institutions of higher education for their support of service-learning, volunteering, and civic engagement. This past year, 547 Dominican students were engaged in more than 10,931 hours of community service.

Dominican was admitted to 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.

 CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Barack Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. CNCS has administered the Honor Roll since 2006.

Dominican increased its focus on community service in 2004 when the University launched its Service-Learning program. Service-Learning is an educational approach that integrates meaningful community work with the academic curriculum. Students are able to build academic skills, critical thinking, and understanding of their own civic responsibilities through serving with organizations that address a variety of societal issues.

Dominican’s Service-Learning program works in partnership with community organizations and agencies throughout Marin County, including Canal Alliance, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Marin AIDS Project, Homeward Bound, Marin County Community School, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Bahia Vista Elementary School, Pickleweed Community Center, and TaxAid.

 “Service-learning helps to prepare our students for a challenging and complex world,” said Julia Van der Ryn, Director of Dominican’s Service-Learning at Program. “While enriching course content through partnership with our highly knowledgeable community partners, this experience also engenders greater awareness of crucial social issues and their root causes.”

By 2006, 180 students were serving in the community through 11 Service-Learning courses. During the 2010-11 academic year, 397 students were engaged in more than 8,240 hours of service through more 20 Service-Learning courses.

Community service also is part of the curriculum of several academic programs at the University. During the 2010-11 academic year about 100 students worked on community service projects in association with Campus Ministry, donating 1,171 hours of service to a variety of nonprofit groups in Marin and beyond. An additional 50 students contributed 1,520 hours of service through their courses in the Department of Occupational Therapy.