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Meramec Receives National Recognition for Community Service, Campus Named to President’s Honor Roll

March 15, 2010

Donna Halsband  
Donna Halsband, Meramec service-learning
coordinator

St. Louis Community College-Meramec has been named to   the 2009 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. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 700 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice.

“Being recognized and listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is a reflection of the depth and breadth of service-learning at Meramec,” said Donna Halsband, the campus service-learning coordinator. “As the only community college in the state of Missouri to be recognized, this verifies our leadership role in the field.” Halsband noted that with over 2,000 students from Meramec are involved in community projects each year and are helping STLCC have a direct positive effect on St. Louis and its surrounding neighborhoods.

At Meramec students have the opportunity to work on service-learning projects that extend across the curriculum, including English, accounting, sociology, economics, art, biology, psychology, physical education and allied health. More than 30 faculty participate in the service learning program, incorporating special projects as part of their class assignments.

Annual food and clothing drives, neighborhood cleanup projects, partnership support for local charities such as Habitat for Humanity and Oasis International, and work with healthcare agencies are typical projects for Meramec students. However, students may also initiate independent projects with the approval and support of faculty. “The Forgotten Genocide,” a documentary produced by STLCC-student Ann Morrison, chronicled a little-known and controversial dark moment in history when Ethnic Germans were systematically herded from Eastern Europe into death camps for the purpose of extinction. Morrison’s idea grew from a small class project to a major event for the campus in February 2010, when Meramec hosted a two-day conference on the topic and approximately 500 people—many from around the globe—came to see the film.

“The Forgotten Genocide Project is service-learning at its finest level” Halsband said. “In her wildest dreams, Ann Morrison would never have thought that a class project could lead to a documentary and world conference. This has changed her life and given recognition to those who have suffered for years because their story didn’t have a voice.”

Halsband gave special praise to faculty members and administrators who had direct roles in helping Morrison and a group of her fellow students make the project a success. “Scott Dorough, Pam Garvey, Eric Meyer, Stephen Petersen and I worked closely with Ann because we knew she had something very special to contribute. And she did; she brought people together from all over the world to affirm their survival and to share their history.”

The 2009 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.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. 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. For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.

John Messmer, Scott Dorough, Ann Morrison, Pam Garvery, Tom Sunic  
Ann Morrison (center) with faculty members (from left) Scott Dorough, John
Messmer and Pam Garvey and special guest lecturer Tom Sunic.