The Corporation for National and Community Service named the University of Virginia in February, 2009, to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities. This is the third time that U.Va. has been recognized by CNCS for achievements in community service.
More than 8,500 U.Va. students logged approximately 450,000 hours in community service last year, according to estimates from the University's Office of University Community Partnerships.
The seven initiatives that earned U.Va. recognition in the Honor Roll included:
- The Day in the Life Program, sponsored by the Community Relations Office, through which U.Va. students provide tutoring and mentoring to disadvantaged youth at numerous schools and community sites to promote the value of education.
- Bridging the Gap, a student-run program at Madison House, that helps refugee youth who have resettled in the area develop the tools needed to access greater opportunities. The children come from many countries, including Somalia, Kenya, Congo, Russia, Liberia, Thailand, and Burma.
- The University of Virginia chapter of Nursing Students Without Borders, which has worked for eight years to build a new Red Cross clinic in San Sebastian, El Salvador. While this project has been on an international scale, the students have improved their fluency in Spanish, increased their cultural awareness and learned about providing health care under less than optimal circumstances.
- The U.Va. Law School's Pro Bono Project where law students receive the skills and values needed to instill a lifetime commitment to law-related community service. Students are challenged to volunteer for at least 25 hours annually.
- Project SERVE, a one-day service project organized through the University's Office of Orientation and New Student Programs that pairs first-year students with one of more than 25 community organizations, including neighborhood groups and schools, assisted-living organizations, parks and recreation organizations and the Ronald McDonald House, among others.
- The University Internship Program, which has placed more than 6,500 U.Va. interns in public and private-sector organizations in the area. The program combines academic instruction and work experience in an applied, "out-of-the-classroom" setting.
- The Young Women Leaders Program, a joint project run by the U.Va. Women's Center and Curry School of Education researchers that gives college women a yearlong service-learning course covering research on the development of adolescent girls and effective mentoring, which they put into practice as they interact with seventh- and eighth-graders.
U.Va. was named one of ten national finalists for the President's Higher Education Community Service Award for Excellence in Annual Community Service by the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service in 2008 and 2006. In naming U.Va. a finalist those years, the awards program cited five initiatives that exemplify the commitment of University students, faculty and staff to public service, and the Day in the Life was one of those cited.
In 2008, the Day in the Life Program was recognized as an outstanding community partner by Charlottesville City Schools.
In 2007, Albemarle County Schools gave a Certificate of Appreciation to the Day in the Life Program in recognition of its high-quality tutoring service.
The Day in the Life Program also received the Virginia Governor’s Community Service and Volunteerism Award in 2005. It was cited as an example of an outstanding service program using AmeriCorps VISTA workers.
Since 2000, the Community Relations Office has received more than 40 awards recognizing excellence in implementing the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC), an annual workplace-giving program through which state employees donate to charities of their choice. Each year, U.Va. employees give hundreds of thousands of dollars through the CVC to help those in need.
In recognition of its service model, the Community Relations Office has been visited by teams of governmental and community relations professionals from other colleges and universities. In addition, the office’s staff members speak at regional and national conferences.