Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville chosen for President's Honor Roll

KINGSVILLE - December 21, 2006

Contact: Julie Navejar
kajam03@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

University selected for community service

KINGSVILLE (December 21, 2006) — The bigheartedness of students, faculty and staff at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has paid off as the university has been selected for the first-ever President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

The Corporation for National and Community Service released a report recently, which finds a sharp increase in the volunteerism among college students and listed A&M-Kingsville among the top in the country. The Javelinas join 15 other colleges and universities in the state that also were chosen for the Community Service Honor Roll.

“On behalf of our students and faculty, we are gratified that their service to the community is being recognized by being included in the honor roll,” said Dr. Rumaldo Z. Juárez, university president. “We at A&M-Kingsville have always valued service to our community and consider the community-at-large an extension of our educational environment.”

The application, prepared and submitted by Dr. Pam Doughty, assistant professor of health and kinesiology, lists several project led by students and faculty to assist the community in the time of need.

The report by Doughty estimates that 760 A&M-Kingsville students participated in community service between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006. More than two-thirds of those contributed more than 20 hours per semester. Of those who helped, 250 volunteered in projects related to hurricane relief combining for about 5,500 hours of work.

In the university’s application for this honor, Doughty included the volunteers at the John E. Conner Museum who assisted with exhibit preparation and installation, the football team who collected trial size toiletries when they traveled and donated them to the local Women’s Shelter, her own class which started a community service project based on diabetes prevention and treatment, civil engineering assistant professor Dr. Francisco Aguiñiga’s wave load design project which includes students and provides information on coastal bridges, and the Criminology Club’s Clean the Beach campaign.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Diana Doan-Crider, King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, set up a webpage listing those displaced residents at the J.K. Northway Exposition Center and students assisted in searching other lists to get families back together. Members of the Javelina basketball teams set up the shelter with beds and bedding, donated basketballs and stayed around to play basketball with the occupants. KTAI, the campus radio station, donated air time to request donations for the survivors and the football team got a local company to donate 300 phone cards for victims at the shelter and even allowed survivors to use their personal cell phones to call family members.

The university places such an importance on community service that it has an employment position for a part-time student who coordinates student community service.

“I believe that a community service program instills the importance of giving back to our community in our students. Leadership gives students many skills that they will use in their lives beyond their tenure at A&M-Kingsville. I think we need to teach our students to be ‘servant leaders,’” said Seferino “Nino” Mendietta, director of the Memorial Student Union Building and Student Activities.

The report, College Students Helping America, issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service, suggests that since the 9/11 attacks, volunteering among college students is up by 20 percent.

“One bright spot coming out of the 9/11 tragedy is a surge of interest by college students in serving their community,” said Steve Goldsmith, the chairman of the board of the Corporation. “This rise in college student volunteering and the growing campus support for service are hopeful signs for the future of civic involvement in America. Higher education is a powerful engine of civic engagement and we are committed to working with university and student organizations and the large nonprofit sector to nurture this growing civic generation.”

“The volunteer enthusiasm expressed by today’s college students could have long-lasting societal benefits,” said Robert Grimm Jr., director of research and policy development. “Just as the Greatest Generation was shaped by World War II and the Great Depression, the tragic events of the last few years coupled with growing university and K-12 support for volunteering and service-learning have translated into more college students mentoring, tutoring and engaging in their community in ways that could produce a lifetime habit.

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