URI placed on community service honor roll

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Distinction given for school’s hurricane relief efforts

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 20, 2006 — The University of Rhode Island was one of only 74 institutions of higher education in the nation to be named to the first President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with “distinction for Hurricane Relief Service.” The announcement was made during the Campus Compact 20th Anniversary meeting this week in Chicago.

URI DISTRICTIVE SERVICE: URI civil engineering student Alex Reeb runs a table saw to cut the right size for framing windows and doors for a Habitat for Humanity “House in a Box” last month. The house will be delivered to the Gulf area sometime in November. URI photo by Nora Lewis

The honor roll responds to President Bush’s call to service by building and supporting the civic engagement mission of the nation’s colleges and universities. This new recognition program is designed to increase public awareness of the contributions that college students make in their local community and beyond through volunteer service.

“URI has set a strong example for college-level civic engagement,” said Stephen Goldsmith, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that works to foster a culture of volunteering and service in America. “Many people and communities have been improved because URI and its students identified some of society’s most pressing needs and got involved.”

URI DISTRICTIVE SERVICE: URI Women Studies major Celanda Montilla hammers nails into lumber while Communications Studies Professor Lynne Derbyshire holds the two-by-fours steady last month. The Habitat for Humanity “House in a Box” will be delivered to the Gulf area sometime in November. URI photo by Nora Lewis

Of the 500 colleges and universities that applied, only 141 were selected for the honor roll. In addition to URI, two other Rhode Island schools, Roger Williams, and Johnson and Wales University were named. (URI was the only one to receive recognition for its hurricane relief service.) All three schools belong to the Rhode Island Campus Compact, an organization comprised of 10 Rhode Island public and private colleges and universities that works to promote service learning and public commitment.

In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, URI’s Clearinghouse for Volunteers swung into action to coordinate a fundraising effort to support the rebuilding. More than 1,000 URI students volunteered more than 15 hours each to raise more than $35,000. The money was raised primarily by student groups, which held fundraisers throughout the academic year. The funds helped to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity “House in a Box.”

Last month, the house began to take shape when University students, faculty and staff, armed with hammers and saws, framed the home’s windows, doors, and corner pieces on the University’s Quadrangle. After additional building, the house will be delivered to the Gulf area sometime in November.