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Making the President’s Honor Roll

  • The Destination: Service program was one of three programs Southwestern included in its application for the 2014 President...
    The Destination: Service program was one of three programs Southwestern included in its application for the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the category of interfaith community service. This photo was taken on a 2013 Destination: Service trip to New Orleans.
  • The Big Event is another program that Southwestern included on its application. Students are shown here volunteering at Th...
    The Big Event is another program that Southwestern included on its application. Students are shown here volunteering at The Caring Place during the 2014 Big Event.

Southwestern has received national recognition for interfaith community service, the highest recognition of any school in Texas

Southwestern is among the colleges that have been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the category of interfaith community service.

The Honor Roll, which was started in 2006, recognizes colleges and universities in four categories: general community service, interfaith community service, economic opportunity and education.

Southwestern has been named to the Honor Roll in the category of general community service each year since the program was started, but this was the first year it applied for recognition in the category of interfaith community service, which recognizes schools that encourage faculty, staff and students of different religious and secular backgrounds to tackle community challenges together.

A total of 90 schools were recognized this year in the category of interfaith community service. Loras College in Iowa received the Presidential Recognition, which is the highest level of recognition, and four other colleges were named Finalists, which is the second highest level of recognition. Southwestern is one of 38 colleges that were named to the Honor Roll with Distinction, which is the next level of recognition. No other school in Texas made the list.

“This is a significant recognition,” said Robert Bisi, director of the Honor Roll program. “This means Southwestern is doing a very high level of community service.”

An additional 47 schools made the Honor Roll in the category of interfaith community service.

In order to be named to the Honor Roll, a school must show that at least 15 percent of its federal work-study money is committed to community service. Schools also have to describe three programs that fall into the category they are applying for recognition in. Southwestern detailed its Destination: Service program, The Big Event, and the tutoring that students in Spanish III classes are doing in partnership with the First United Methodist Church of Georgetown.

Destination: Service is Southwestern’s alternative spring break program. It was started in 1996, and each year takes students to various locations where they can do community service work. Recent locations for Destination: Service trips have included Tucson, Ariz., the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, and areas in Louisiana that are still recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. Approximately 50 students participate in the trips each year.

The Big Event is a student-run event each spring in which students, faculty, staff and alumni go into the Georgetown community to volunteer with local organizations. In 2014, more than 350 members of the Southwestern community volunteered with 15 local nonprofit organizations, several of which are faith-based.  

Spanish III students at Southwestern provide ongoing support for the English as a Second Language program offered by the First United Methodist Church of Georgetown. The program supports adults who are trying to learn English. Approximately 10 students a semester volunteer one evening a week at the church.