North Park University Honored for Community Service

Honor Roll Service Award

University among 642 U.S. schools named to honor roll

CHICAGO (March 27, 2012) – North Park University, Chicago, is among 642 U.S. colleges and universities named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which highlights the value of community service and achieving meaningful outcomes in their communities.

"To receive this award is another affirmation that our mission — to prepare students for lives of significance and service — is integrated into the fabric of the University," said Dr. Joseph Jones, University provost. "It is recognition of the work of our students, staff, and faculty who labor without complaint as they give themselves as lights in the community."

The University has engaged in a variety of community service opportunities. It cited annual neighborhood service commitments and programs; regular involvement with the Friendship Center, a neighborhood food pantry; service by faculty and staff on boards of many neighborhood organizations where students also serve as interns; work in local tutoring programs; the work of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management which offers classes to neighborhood nonprofit organizations; and students who serve in internships in the Albany Park neighborhood and throughout the city.

Specifically, the University highlighted three community service projects in its 2012 application:

  • Community Service Day: Since 2008, the University community has participated in various projects set up by the Urban Outreach program. In April 2011, nearly 300 people participated in 16 different service projects throughout the Albany Park neighborhood. In addition, the North Park University football team and soccer teams hosted free clinics for neighborhood children. Music students performed at Swedish Covenant Hospital as well as three local nursing homes. Volunteers baked cookies and collected clothing that was donated to a food shelter.

  • Global partnerships: Students are provided with opportunities for cross-cultural experiences that expand their faith, their views of the world, and their commitment to a lifestyle of justice while serving others in need. Each year about 150 students visit one of 11 partners to serve, build relationships, and learn from our partner organizations. Locations include Zambia, Thailand, India, Ecuador, Mexico, Alaska, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, North Park University has sent 12 groups of students to the Gulf Coast to help with demolition and rebuilding of small neighborhoods.

  • Peterson Tutoring Program: Since 1991 North Park University has been a partner in a tutoring program at Peterson Elementary School, a neighborhood public school. More than 40 languages are spoken at the school. On a weekly basis, approximately 40-45 students serve as volunteers and are assigned one child every week for individual tutoring, the application said.

The honor roll was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, according to a news release from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the honor roll.

Of the 642 colleges and universities recognized, 513 were named to the Honor Roll, 110 were named to the Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.

Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.

Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Explore how community and service shape North Park in the Winter 2012 edition of the North Parker magazine.

Read more about North Park joining President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.