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SUNY Plattsburgh Among Colleges Named to President's Honor Roll for Community Service

SUNY Plattsburgh was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes colleges and universities that achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve while showing a commitment to community service and service learning.

“Community service is a key component of our strategic plan,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. “Our students, faculty and staff have been actively involved in community service and service learning for years through our Center for Student Involvement and their own departments and divisions. Service is also a component of the faculty and staff evaluator process. To be named to the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service validates and recognizes what we’ve been embracing for years.” 

Highest Federal Recognition

Participation in community service activities and specifically, being named to the Honor Roll, is one of the metrics that SUNY uses to measure its success toward one of the Big Ideas in its university-wide strategic plan: SUNY and the Vibrant Community. SUNY Plattsburgh was among 19 SUNY campuses — out of 64 total — to be named to the national roll. It is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service learning and civic engagement.

Cori Jackson, director of the Center for Student Involvement, said that when they applied for the award, they were tasked with “capturing the Plattsburgh story with three examples of service and accompanying statistics.” 

“We wanted to show a variety of engagement because community service and service learning covers a broad scope,” she said.

Three Areas of Service

She, Michael Cashman, assistant director of the center, and Dr. Becky Kasper, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, compiled data for three areas of service performed by various constituents on campus: the Shine On! Conference, a program designed to increase self-esteem and resiliency in young girls; Project CONNECT, the afterschool program in the Plattsburgh City School District that connects SUNY Plattsburgh’s teacher education students with students in need of afterschool care and educational assistance, and Project HELP’s Day of Caring, which was created as a way to provide an intensive amount of service to the community in the space of a day.

“We were trying to include a co-curricular, a curricular and a community service example in our application,” Jackson said.

“It’s certainly a celebration of the great accomplishment for civic and community engagement,” Cashman said. “But it’s also a call to action for those who aren’t already sharing their stories.”

“Participating in community service is an important part of any college experience and a hallmark of our strategic plan,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “Each of our SUNY campuses has an astounding array of options for students as well as faculty and staff to give back to their local communities, to have a greater impact on communities across the country and abroad. Congratulations, and thank you to each of the campuses recognized in the President’s Honor Roll this year.”

Reworked Campus Plan, Service ‘Perfect Fit’

“Faculty, students and staff are doing good things; they’re just not out there, getting the word out,” Jackson said. “We encourage faculty to come out and share what they’re doing. It fits with the strategic plan, and it’s a good starting point.”

Cashman pointed out that this year marks the first time SUNY Plattsburgh has made the honor roll and the timing is “perfect because it fits perfectly into the reworked campus plan.”

“The campus plan focused on something we’ve been doing; it validates what we’re already doing and means we’re heading in the right direction for the future,” he said.

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