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President Obama’s Community Service Honor Roll Commends UC San Diego’s Commitment to Giving Back

On January 15, students volunteered to restore portions of the American Legion Hall in National City as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

For the third consecutive year, the University of California, San Diego has been named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for its efforts to solve community problems, place students on a lifelong path of civic engagement and achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes of community service.

Based on 2011 data, UC San Diego was recognized again for two exemplary learning programs, Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) and the university’s Thurgood Marshall College’s public service minor as well as one outstanding community service program, Alternative Breaks.

The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education. The Corporation for National and Community Service admitted a total of 642 schools, colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Of that total, 513 were named to the Honor Roll and 110 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction.

According to Eduardo Ochoa, the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education, “The Honor Roll schools should be proud of their work to elevate the role of service-learning on their campuses. Galvanizing their students to become involved in projects that address pressing concerns and enrich their academic experience has a lasting impact – both in the communities in which they work and on their own sense of purpose as citizens of the world.”

UC San Diego currently has 560 registered student organizations and 101 of those organizations have a primary focus on community service. A total of 16,312 students are engaged in a form of community service and in 2011, the university’s students completed 1,963,380 hours of community service.

A total of 16,312 students are engaged in a form of community service and in 2011, the university’s students completed 1,963,380 hours of community service.

“Our students’ passion for community service continues to thrive at UC San Diego,” said Emily Marx, director of UC San Diego’s Center for Student Involvement. “Our students want to make a difference and UC San Diego offers many opportunities for them to do so—community service is an excellent way to give back and it’s also a great learning experience outside of the classroom.”

UC San Diego continues to be recognized for its dedication to public service by rankings organizations and public officials. Washington Monthly repeatedly ranks the campus among the top higher education institutions for contributions faculty, students and staff make to their community. In 2011, the last year for which rankings are available, UC San Diego was first in the nation.  In April 2011, the campus was the host university for the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) meetings. Community service is at the core of the mission of the conference. President Clinton said he chose UC San Diego for its ongoing and consistent dedication to community service and mentioned the Washington Monthly rankings in various appearances on campus.

The learning and service programs at UC San Diego recognized include:

  • Alternative Breaks – This organization sponsors service trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Tanzania, Russia, Appalachia, the Gulf Region and other areas where student aid is needed.  For example, in Russia, students mentored disadvantaged elementary students and made improvements to school facilities.
  • Teams in Engineering Service (TIES) – This innovative service and academic program involves multi-disciplinary teams of students who use their combined technical and creative skills to design, build and deploy projects that solve technology-based problems for San Diego non-profit organizations.
  • Public Service Minor – The learning program sponsored by Thurgood Marshall College encourages students to understand the history and practices of public service and to work toward the development of civic skills. Those skills and practices are essential cornerstones of participation in a democratic society regardless of one’s chosen profession.

For the full list of institutions named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, click here.