Oswego repeats national distinction for community service

For the second straight year, SUNY Oswego appeared among the select group of schools named to the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction — a list Oswego has made every year since its 2006 debut.

Kristin Bermingham '12 and dog

Psychology major Kristyn Bermingham ’12 works with furry friends such as Hana, an Akita mix, at the city’s Oswego Animal Shelter as part of the service learning requirement. Oswego continues to add courses with service learning components as part of its commitment to community engagement.

The Corporation for National and Community Service bestowed the “with Distinction” designation on 110 colleges around the country for 2010-11. The overall honor roll includes 513 colleges this year. Oswego was one of three SUNY schools on the distinction list, along with Cortland and Geneseo.

Alyssa Amyotte, coordinator of the college’s Center for Service Learning and Community Service, said the breadth and depth of involvement in initiatives — from President Deborah F. Stanley and other administrators to professors to student organizations — was key to repeating on the prestigious list.

“We see so much support, in the number of administrators, faculty members and students, even when the support is as simple as a professor encouraging students to get involved,” Amyotte said. “The interest among students here is amazing, much of it from positive word of mouth.”

When Laura Hess Brown ’84 began offering students a service learning option in an introductory gerontology course in 1998, only a couple of other Oswego courses challenged students to get out in the community to apply what they were learning in class.

Between service learning courses, volunteering and other community involvement, more than 4,000 SUNY Oswego students contributed more than 430,000 hours of service last year, according to the honor roll application.

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