MCLA named to 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). 

MCLA's selection to the Honor Roll is recognition of the College's commitment to service and civic engagement from the highest levels of the federal government, according to the CNCS.

 "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," said NCNS CEO Patrick Corvington, in a prepared statement.

"All of the service work at MCLA generates from the generous spirit of our students, faculty, staff and many community partners," said Charlotte Degen, MCLA dean of students.

That service work involves a wide variety of projects. They include the Friends of Foster Families Program, Alternative Spring Break trips, and the Pathways and Write Stuff programs, which reflect the college access and aspirations goals of the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education.

By partnering with a variety of local organizations - including Conte Middle School in North Adams - through the Pathways Program, 22 MCLA students served 120 at-risk youth in 2009 by inspiring them to stay in school, become excited about going to college and helping them to understand the value of higher education.

MCLA students developed workshops and interactive college-focused activities for the youth, which included campus tours, financial assistance seminars, the opportunity to attend classes and extracurricular activities, introduction to dorm life, and more.

For the Write Stuff - a collaborative effort between the College and the former Inkberry, a local nonprofit organization that promoted the literary arts in the Berkshires - 21 MCLA students tutored and mentored 35 seventh-grade students in creative writing. A goal of the program is to increase students' educational aspirations and to help them understand the value of college and to view education as a path out of poverty.

During the academic year, MCLA students tutored the middle school students weekly, underwent literacy and mentorship training provided by the middle school program coordinator, and worked to sustain and grow relationships with the youth they served.

In the Friends of Foster Families program, students provide some time off for foster parents by spending time with their foster children. Last year, MCLA students who participated in the Alternative Spring Break built environmentally friendly cooking stoves in a Mexican village.

In 2009 across the nation, more than three million students performed over 300 million hours of service. Each year, CNCS invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs. Both the Pathways and the Write Stuff programs were supported by CNCS Learn and Serve grants.

CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees 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.



For more information about MCLA's Center for Service, go to community/centerforservice .