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PR # 161 February 15, 2008

RVCC RECEIVES SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR SERVICE

The Corporation for National and Community Service has honored Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) with a Special Achievement Award as part of the second annual President?s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

RVCC was one of two community colleges nationwide that received the Special Achievement Award in recognition of its commitment to service. The award was given February 11 at the American Council on Education (ACE) annual conference in San Diego.

?Raritan Valley?s students are a sterling example of today?s college students, who are tackling the toughest problems in America, demonstrating their compassion, commitment and creativity by serving as mentors, tutors and other capacities,? said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation, who announced the award. ?They represent a renewed spirit of civic engagement fostered by outstanding leadership on caring campuses.?

?Raritan Valley Community College is proud of its commitment to community service and its nationally recognized Service Learning Program. Service learning enables our students to provide valuable contributions to community organizations while they gain practical experience in their fields of study. We are grateful to the Corporation for National and Community Service for recognizing the outstanding efforts of our faculty and students who are involved in service learning projects,? said RVCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

The Special Achievement Award was given in recognition of the College?s Service Learning Disaster Sheltering Projects, including the efforts of 87 students in the College?s Trends in Nursing course. The students researched a disaster sheltering topic related to health care targeted at specific populations and then matched their findings with particular community organizations needing assistance. Among the services students developed and provided to these organizations were workshops, information brochures, fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations and training sessions.

Over the past fours years, through the Supporting Actions for Engagement (SAFE) project, RVCC has created a Service Learning Emergency and Disaster Preparedness program that has brought together students, faculty and community members to specifically address the issues of emergency preparedness. Additionally, the Somerset Police Academy has collaborated with the SAFE project by involving police recruits in programs for numerous community organizations focused on public health and safety concerns. The Police Academy is housed at RVCC?s North Branch Campus. The SAFE project was a Learn and Serve initiative sponsored by the Community College National Center for Community Engagement.

Service learning at Raritan Valley Community College involves students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community. Annually, more than 1,000 students participate in service learning projects with over 250 community organizations in Somerset and Hunterdon counties. In addition, 65 full-time and part-time faculty offer service learning either as an option or requirement within all academic disciplines. Each year, students contribute over 30,000 hours of service donating the economic equivalent of $600,000 to the community.

Students serve at many different kinds of organizations?social service and governmental agencies and non-profit businesses. Many of them include preschool through college educational systems, after-school programs, nursing homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, animal shelters, museums, court houses, probation departments, youth correctional facilities, consumer affairs offices, houses of worship, YMCA programs and homeless shelters.

This is the second time that the College has been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service. In fall 2006 the Corporation named RVCC to the President?s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for general community service and Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts.

Launched in 2006, the Honor Roll?s Presidential Award is the highest recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovativeness 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.

The Honor Roll also recognized 127 colleges and universities as Honor Roll With Distinction members and 391 schools as Honor Roll members. In total, 528 schools were recognized. A full list is available at www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

ACE President David Ward noted how impressed he was with the commitment of all the award winners. ?There is no question that the universities and colleges who have made an effort to participate and win the Honor Roll award are themselves being rewarded today,? said Ward. ?Earning this distinction is not easy. But now each of these schools will be able to wear this award like a badge of honor.?

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps and the President?s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

For additional information about Raritan Valley Community College?s Service Learning Program, visit www.raritanval.edu/servicelearning or contact Lori Moog, program manager of Community Outreach, lmoog@raritanval.edu .

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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