Chester, Pa.–Widener University has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll “With Distinction” in the General Community Service and Education Community Service categories. Widener has been named to the Honor Roll every year since its inception in 2006.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized year after year for our civic engagement efforts in the communities we serve,” said Widener University President James T. Harris III. “The real reward, however, is the partnerships with the community that these efforts create, the learning and personal growth opportunities they offer our students, and seeing how these efforts change the lives of the people they serve for the better.”
This year, Widener was recognized for four exemplary projects:
· The Widener Partnership Charter School: The first university-based charter school in Pennsylvania, WPCS currently serves about 450 students in grades K-8. The school takes a holistic approach focused on low student-to-teacher ratios for personalized instruction; a commitment to making music, art, drama, foreign language and physical and health education an integral part of the curriculum; fostering the social and emotional development of students; and partnership with families so that they are productively engaged in their child’s educational experience.
· The Chester Upland Soccer for Success Program: The U.S. Soccer Foundation developed the Soccer for Success Program to use soccer as a vehicle for positive social change. As the recipient of a grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Widener’s Athletic Department, School of Nursing, and Center for Violence Prevention partner with the Philadelphia Union and other local organization to provide more than 700 youth in seven local schools with physical activity, nutrition education, mentoring, and family engagement opportunities.
· Widener School of Law Clinics: In 2012-13 Widener Law students enrolled in five clinics across two campuses, where they earned academic credit while using their developing legal skills to help domestic violence victims, the poor and community groups. Clinical programs included the Delaware Civil Clinic, the Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Clinic and the Veterans Law Clinic, all based on the Wilmington, Del. Campus; the Harrisburg Civil Clinic, based on the Harrisburg, Pa. campus; and the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, operating on both campuses. The Veterans Law Clinic was among the first of its kind in the nation. It assists disabled veterans and their dependents with appeals of benefit denials before the Department of Veteran Affairs, in addition to providing a host of services that address legal problems which can be impediments to veterans’ financial security. The clinic currently has about 225 clients and has recovered more than $6 million for its veteran clients, including $3.8 million in the last four years.
· The College Access Center of Delaware County: In response to the immediate need to increase the percentage of Chester Upland School District college-bound students, Widener convened the presidents of five regional colleges and universities to discuss leveraging their collective resources. The result of this collaboration led to the College Access Center of Delaware County which opened in 2009. The mission of the CAC is to provide underserved residents with programs and activities to enhance their access to and success in postsecondary education. The first and only college access center in the county, it serves more than 1,000 residents annually.
A total of 766 higher education institutions were named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. A full list of the honorees can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1vF8tK3.
“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve programs. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role college and universities play in solving community challenges. As a result, more students are likely to pursue a lifelong path of civic engagement that achieves meaningful and measurable outcomes in their communities.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service, administers the initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.