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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has again been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction in General Community Service. The President’s Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition that colleges and universities can receive for community service, service-learning and civic engagement.

UNC-Chapel Hill has been recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually since it began in 2006. For the reporting year (2012-13), more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students provided more 1.7 million hours of service. According to the Independent Sector estimate of value for volunteer time for 2013 ($22.14 an hour), the value of the 1,778,624 service hours performed by Carolina students is more than $39 million.

The Carolina Center for Public Service submitted UNC-Chapel Hill’s nomination on behalf of the University. Three programs were highlighted in the nomination as examples of Carolina’s commitment to community engagement. Healthy Girls Save the World (HGSW), Musical Empowerment and the Buckley Public Service Scholars program (BPSS).

Healthy Girls Save the World

HGSW is a holistic health organization that emphasizes health, allowing girls to establish healthy habits at a young age. The program targets girls ages 8-15 and promotes healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy relationships. HGSW provides information about exercise and nutrition and integrate lessons on self-esteem, good study habits and the importance of respectful and positive relationships. During free events, participants meet and engage in physical activity with Carolina’s female student athletes, including women from basketball, volleyball, soccer, swim, field hockey and gymnastics teams. Participants also hear from nutritionists and fitness instructors, and interact with UNC-Chapel Hill students from a variety of schools who lead interactive activities to stimulate instruction, dialogue and reflection. HGSW was originally developed through a Bryan Social Innovation Fellowship awarded by the APPLES Service-Learning program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Musical Empowerment

Musical Empowerment is a nonprofit, student organization at UNC-Chapel Hill created to make a difference in the lives of children in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. The program’s founders recognized that music fosters discipline, confidence and common values, yet the cost of music lessons can be a significant barrier to children being able to participate in the arts. In 2002, Musical Empowerment was created by a Carolina undergraduate student in response to this need and to connect with Spanish-speaking families in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. The program connects children from primarily low-income families in the community with UNC-Chapel Hill students who volunteer their time to teach free, private, weekly music lessons. In its first year, the program included 12 UNC-Chapel Hill student volunteers teaching piano, guitar, violin and voice lessons. Since then, Musical Empowerment has grown exponentially and now has more than 100 students involved, teaching lessons in many instruments including trumpet, piano, cello, guitar, clarinet, violin, flute, viola and voice.

Buckley Public Service Scholars program

The Buckley Public Service Scholars program provides a framework for Carolina undergraduate students committed to making a positive impact through community engagement. BPSS challenges participants to expand their understanding of service, connect academic and community-based experiences and build their capacity to help effect change. While completing the program, participants build portfolios reflecting their learning and unique service experiences throughout North Carolina, the nation and the world. BPSS incorporates a substantial commitment to public service and several forms of structured training and reflection on that engagement. Currently approximately 10 percent of Carolina undergraduates are enrolled as participants. After completing the program, Buckley Public Service Scholars are recognized at a special graduation ceremony, receive a public service cord and notation on their academic transcript.

The President’s Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions whose community service efforts support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships. This recognition is part of a strategic commitment to engage millions of college students in service and highlight the critical role of higher education in strengthening communities.

Since 2006, UNC-Chapel Hill has repeatedly been named to the honor roll with distinction. In 2009, UNC-Chapel Hill received the President’s Higher Education Community Service Award for General Community Service at a ceremony in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Published January 14, 2015