George Fox earns national recognition for community service
George Fox University’s commitment to community and civic engagement earned the institution recognition from the federal government, which named the Newberg, Ore., school to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in March.
The Honor Roll
The Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities. The designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement, according to the nationalservice.gov website.
The award, administered by the Corporation for National & Community Service, was awarded to George Fox for the school’s long-standing commitment to service. In fact, service is an integral part of the institution’s mission: “To prepare students spiritually, academically and professionally to think with clarity, act with integrity and serve with passion.”
George Fox's service initiatives
Among its service initiatives is an annual Serve Day, when classes are canceled to allow students, employees and alumni to canvas the Portland, Ore., area to assist nonprofits, public agencies, churches, retirement homes and individual citizens. Last year, more than 1,500 volunteers visited a record 83 sites for the 14th annual event.
In addition, George Fox students annually participate in an MLK Day of Service in January; travel throughout the U.S. and abroad on spring, summer and winter serve trips; organize regular visits to assist the homeless in Portland and Salem, Ore.; and conduct on-campus fundraisers, including the “Mr. Bruin” male “beauty” pageant, that raise money for charitable causes.
George Fox’s ethos of service is also reflected in the school’s commitment to educating the youth of the region through home-school science courses, summer science camps, local school visits by George Fox professors, and a science equipment loan program. The university’s community engagement includes partnering with the local school district to allow school and club teams to use George Fox facilities – including the newly developed Austin Sports Complex one mile north of campus.
In the classroom, service-learning elements include a servant-engineering program in the school’s ABET-accredited engineering program, a community-consulting program in George Fox’s MBA program, student-teaching experiences through its School of Education, and practicum classes in the nursing program.
All told, George Fox students committed more than a quarter of a million hours to service during the 2010-11 school year.
'A great honor'
“This is a great honor that reflects what we believe, teach, value, and hope to live in terms of service to our local community,” said Brad Lau, vice president for student life at George Fox. “Our commitment to living out our Christ-centered mission as we serve others is deeply rooted in our Christian faith and ethos and is an important component of the George Fox experience for students, faculty and staff. Our hope and prayer is that George Fox graduates will take this commitment to service into their work as educators, nurses, businesspersons, engineers, artists, or wherever their lives take them.”
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually highlights the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement by recognizing institutions that achieve meaningful, measureable outcomes in the communities they serve.
“Congratulations to George Fox, its faculty and students for its commitment to service, both in and out of the classroom,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “Through its work, institutions of higher education are helping improve their local communities and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges.”
Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.