03/21/10 — MOC receives honor for its community service

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MOC receives honor for its community service

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on March 21, 2010 1:50 AM

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Mount Olive College President Dr. Philip Kerstetter picks up a case of paper towels while putting together Easter baskets for needy area families.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Even as Mount Olive College students and staff celebrated earning national recognition for their dedication to community service, they were already forging ahead with the next outreach project to help needy families.

More than 50 families in Mount Olive will have a happier Easter this spring thanks to a community food drive based at the college. The service project collected enough non-perishable items from residents and college students, faculty and staff to fill 57 large "Easter basket" boxes that will go to needy Mount Olive families, distributed through the Helping Hands Mission.

It is participation in similar projects that racked up the more than 29,000 volunteer hours that earned the school a place on the Corporation for National and Community Service's President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The honor roll, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement, recognizes exemplary service efforts and service to America's communities.

"Mount Olive College students bring an enormous pool of idealism and energy with them to their volunteer efforts," said Dr. Philip Kerstetter, president of the college. "It is an honor to be recognized for this service by the Presidential Honor Roll, but the real reward is the positive learning experience for our students by providing opportunities for them to witness and understand how their efforts have affected the lives of others."

The latest food drive project was a combined effort supported by the college, the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, local churches and many other groups and individuals. Kerstetter himself sparked the initiative for the food drive as part of the "Inauguration Week" activities leading up to his official installation as the fourth president of the college. In recent months, students have also collected supplies to send to Haiti in the wake of the January earthquake and other projects are in the works for the future.

MOC and the other awardees were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Among the organizations and programs that have benefited from the MOC students, faculty and staff's hard work are Coats for Kids, Habitat for Humanity, Epic Journey, Go Green Project, Wayne County Special Olympics, Operation Christmas Child, March of Dimes, Humane Society, Salvation Army, Adopt A Highway, Read to Succeed and many others.

The honor roll is a collaborative program in conjunction with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

Patrick Corvington, the corporation's Chief Executive Officer, congratulated the winners.

"Congratulations to the awardees and students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities. Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service," he said.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. The Corporation administers Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America, a program that supports service-learning in schools, institutions of higher education and community-based organizations. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov.