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UIndy named to President Obama’s service honor roll

Posted on 04.10.2013

The University of Indianapolis has been named to President Barack  Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Some of the specific organizations honored were the Laurelwood program at the YMCA, College Mentors for Kids and Top Dog Communication.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service official website, the honor roll annually highlights the role that colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.
UIndy was first named to the honor roll in 2010. Each year the honor roll sends out a request for universities to apply. But the universities have to go through the application process and meet the criteria. After the award in 2010, UIndy did not apply for it again until this year.
According to Community Outreach and Student Engagement Coordinator Stephanie Sachs, the application process is extensive.
“It takes a lot of time because you have to take all the data from every single department and volunteer projects that UIndy partakes in,” Sachs said.
Sachs also mentioned that the service award legitimizes UIndy’s motto of “Education for Service.”
The honor roll focuses mainly on service and service learning. The organization specifically looks at the positive impact that higher education institutions have made in the community through service.
Director of the Community Programs Center Marianna Foulkrod spearheaded the application process. Foulkrod kept track of the community service projects performed by UIndy students so she could gather the data required for the application.
“We used several of our projects done at the university because a very vital component of the application was to show the great number of students that were participating through volunteerism and service leaning,” Foulkrod said.
According to Foulkrod, the university had to give an account of the number of partners it has helped, the meals it had served each year, books read and many other details that make a huge impact in the community.
“The university doesn’t only help the U.S. community. We cosponsored a Burmese organization called Baci by inviting their youth over during the summer to use our computer labs in preparation for college,” she said.
Foulkrod plans in the future to apply annually and said that the award is  good for UIndy in multiple ways.
“We hope to apply every year from now on, not just because of the national recognition, but because the structure it creates reminds us to continue to gather data for us to be able to tell our story,” Foulkrod said.
One of the people Foulkrod went to for help with the application was Distinguished Professor for Service Learning Rebecca Deemer, who advises the UIndy student-run public relations firm.
“She needed my help in outlining what the students in Top Dog Communication do, how they help not-for-profit organizations and how that benefits the community,” Deemer said.
The application for the service award stated that Top Dog Communication is an on-campus public relations agency comprised  of student-led public relations teams that serve nonprofit organizations free of charge.
“UIndy does a lot of things for service, and an average of about 30 students a semester do service work for Top Dog,” Deemer said. “The students are the ones who have actually implemented a lot of the service projects that helped UIndy earn the award.”
Deemer said that regardless of the national recognition, community service is an important part of the UIndy mission.
“Award or no award, I think it’s something the university needs to be doing anyway because we should always help the community in any way we can,” Deemer said. “I am very proud of the work that UIndy as a whole has done for the community so far, and I think this award is well deserved.”


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