RVCC Receives National Award for Service Learning Initiatives


RVCC Receives National Award for Service Learning Initiatives

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
male student with dog outside animal shelter

Raritan Valley Community College is one of six colleges and universities in the country to be recognized by Campus Compact for outstanding work in pursuit of the public purposes of higher education.

RVCC is one of only two community colleges in the U.S.—and the only New Jersey college—to receive the first Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation. RVCC will be recognized at an Awards Celebration during Campus Compact’s Compact20 national conference, which will be held March 29 to April 1 in Seattle, WA.

“Raritan Valley Community College is honored to have been selected by Campus Compact for the prestigious Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation. The award celebrates RVCC’s commitment to the civic purposes of higher education through its nationally recognized Service Learning Program, in which students serve the community as part of the classroom experience and receive academic credit for their efforts. By working with community organizations to help address their vital needs, students gain valuable experience and develop a lifelong commitment to learning and good citizenship,” said Dr. Michael J. McDonough, President of RVCC.

The College is being honored for its longstanding commitment to providing all students with access to civic and community-based learning experiences. According to Campus Compact, “Service learning opportunities are deeply embedded in student life and in [RVCC’s] curriculum, with service learning courses offered in every academic department. Not only has this enhanced learning and provided professional development opportunities for students, but it has also been integral to addressing the major challenges facing communities in their region.”

For the past 25 years, the College’s Service Learning Program has collaborated with diverse community organizations and has flourished to include over 250 community partners to help address their growing needs. Through participation in RVCC’s Service Learning Program, students gain the opportunity to address many critical issues of public concern, including hunger, homelessness, literacy, the environment, disabilities, domestic violence, substance abuse, child care, health, nutrition, animal welfare, and legal aid/law. Students also serve the community through their participation in student clubs, athletics, student government, honor societies, internships and political/democratic engagement. In addition, RVCC faculty and administrators serve the community through their participation on non-profit boards.

Annually, RVCC students contribute 45,000 hours of service, donating the economic equivalent of $1 million in service to Somerset and Hunterdon counties. In a five-year period, students have contributed the economic equivalent of approximately $5 million to the community, making the College widely regarded as an important and reliable partner.

The Richard Guarasci Award for Institutional Transformation and the Eduardo J. Padrón Award for Institutional Transformation recognize four-year institutions and community colleges, respectively, that have successfully implemented institution-wide efforts to address issues of public concern by aligning teaching, research, practice, and values in service of the common good. The awards are named for higher education leaders whose efforts have transformed their institutions to contribute to the goal of full participation in our communities and our democracy.

“The individuals and institutions we celebrate through these awards demonstrate the extraordinary impact colleges and universities can make when they commit themselves to strengthening our communities and our democracy,” said Campus Compact President Andrew Seligsohn. “In partnership with residents, local schools, and other community-based organizations, they are moving their communities in the direction of greater justice, greater equity, and greater participation.”

About Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a national coalition of 1000+ colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, it provides professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership, and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity. For more information, visit www.compact.org.

About RVCC
RVCC has received numerous accolades for its service learning and civic engagements initiatives, including the 2008 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement and 2015 Re-Classification, demonstrating expansion of signifi¬cant community engagement, resources, assessment, and effectiveness for the institution. RVCC was named to the President’s Honor Roll with Distinction for nine consecutive years since the Honor Roll’s inception. It received the 2014 and 2015 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for creating service learning partnerships among underserved populations; 2018 New Jersey Governor’s Award for outstanding service learning to the community; Gold Seal from ALL IN Challenge Civic Nation for increasing campus voting rates between 40-49 percent in the 2018 midterm election; and annual Newman Civic Fellowship Awards.

Ranked by WalletHub.com and Niche.com as the #1 community college in New Jersey, Raritan Valley Community College has been serving as an academic and cultural center for Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for over 50 years. The College has been nationally recognized for its service to the community, environmental stewardship, and commitment to diversity. It is home to a Planetarium, Science Education Institute and 3M Observatory; a 1,000-seat Theatre offering professional performances for all ages; and an Honors College for high achieving students.

The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, small business assistance through the Small Business Development Center, and professional development courses. RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.



February 4, 2020

Media contact: Donna Stolzer, 908-526-1200, ext. 8383

PR #78