‘Engaged campus’ earns coveted honor

The Carnegie Foundation has awarded SUNY Oswego a prestigious Community Engagement Classification, recognizing that the college has deeply intertwined community engagement in its leadership, curriculum, outreach programs, strategic planning and community partnerships.

The Carnegie Foundation named 115 colleges and universities for the community service distinction this year among 305 that applied. Another 196 institutions have received the classification since the program began in 2006. Applications are now closed until 2015.

Helping at Harborfest

Helping at Harborfest are Marquise Rochester '13, left, and Andrew Magnemi '13.

Nine New York colleges and universities received the classification in 2010. The others are Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. John’s University, Skidmore College, Jefferson Community College, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Oneonta and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

“We are honored that SUNY Oswego has been designated an ‘engaged campus’ by the Carnegie Foundation,” President Deborah F. Stanley said.

“Starting with our Engagement 2000 strategic plan, our college has magnified its efforts to put community service, outreach and partnerships at the very center of what we do. The Community Engagement Classification recognizes the energetic, generous and diverse efforts across the campus — and among our many community partners — to make this goal come to life. More and more, our faculty, staff and students are engaging community needs in the classroom, through research and as volunteers,” Stanley added.

Oswego has a wealth of community service initiatives, from alternative break projects in New Orleans and Jamaica, to student-driven Adopt-a-Grandparent and Miss-a-Meal programs.

Central to mission

But the designation goes beyond service programs, requiring that successful applicants demonstrate the importance
of community engagement to the institution, from faculty to students to staff, across the curriculum and campus.

“This is absolutely a campus-wide honor,” said Christy Harrison Huynh ’98, M ’08, associate director of the Compass and part of the team that completed the rigorous application process for the designation.

Among the findings:

In 2009-10, more than 1,500 student volunteers and 700 unpaid interns logged 110,000 community service hours. Upon graduation, 72 percent of Oswego students report they engaged in community service.

Through student, faculty and staff organizations and departmental efforts, the campus has sought to engage and serve through the Benin Calculator Project, Adopt-a-School, Leadership Oswego County, the Oswego Children’s Project, Sustainability Fair and community service components for at least 30 courses.

SUNY Oswego has been a founding member since 2001 of the New York Campus Compact to encourage community service and civic engagement, and has been on the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since its inception in 2007.

Next steps

Now that Oswego has received the designation, what’s next? Huynh said it provides an impetus to continue weaving community engagement into the college’s fabric.

“It recognizes—and I think it provides almost an obligation to invest in and to continue to develop—those programs,”
she said. l

— Jeff Rea ’71


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