For the fourth consecutive year Black Hills State University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.

BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp notes that volunteer activities provide a win-win situation for the community and the campus as students and faculty take part in innovative programs and projects to meet local needs while enhancing their educational experience by utilizing knowledge and skills gained in their classrooms. During the last year, students and faculty logged more than 10,000 service hours.

“Black Hills State University places an emphasis on creating experiential learning opportunities for our students to complement their coursework. These activities provide much needed community service for the region,” Schallenkamp says.

Students participate in a variety of community service projects throughout the year, including annual participation in Make a Difference Day, Alternative Spring Break, the Service Plunge, Thanksgiving at the Dorsett Home, Red Shirt Table Holiday Exchange, and Earth Week. In addition to those recurring events many faculty and students are instituting additional service learning opportunities including a recent intergenerational media project; and assistance with income tax preparation, among other projects.

“Congratulations to Black Hills State University and its students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “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.”

The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.

The Honor Roll includes six colleges and universities that are recognized as Presidential Awardees, with an additional 115 named to the Distinction List and 621 schools named as Honor Roll members. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the 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.

Nationally college students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service, according to the Volunteering in America study released by the Corporation. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.

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