Knox Wins Presidential Community Service Award
One of the top 20 colleges on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
December 08, 2014
Knox College has been recognized as one of the top 20 colleges in the nation for community service.
Knox is one of just four finalists in the Economic Opportunity category of the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll -- the highest federal award that an educational institution can receive for its commitment to community service.
The Honor Roll named one Winner and four Finalists in each of four categories -- Economic Opportunity, Education, Interfaith Community Service, and General Community Service.
This is the fifth time in the past six years that Knox has been recognized by the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
"This award recognizes that the efforts of hundreds of Knox students, through thousands of hours of community service, are touching people's lives and making a real difference in the everyday well-being of our community," said Knox College President Teresa Amott.
The award focused specifically on the local economic impact of three of Knox's community service initiatives:
- KnoxCorps, a civic engagement partnership with the Galesburg Community Foundation, which places Knox students and recent graduates with local nonprofit organizations. "Each of these organizations plays an important role in the economic vitality of Galesburg and promotes a strong, vital, connected community," said Karrie Heartlein, Knox's director of government and community relations. In 2012-2013, KnoxCorps provided 6,000 hours of work in the community.
- Blessings in a Backpack, a student club that collected and distributed food donations to more than 150 grade school children. "Education is vital to a community's development, and it's proven that schools with Blessings programs have seen improvements in students' attendance, behavior, health and academic performance," said Kathleen Ridlon, coordinator of Knox's Kleine Center for Community Service. The food distribution is a joint project involving Blessings in a Backpack, First Presbyterian Church, School District 205, and Galesburg Hy-Vee grocery stores.
- Expanded partnership with FISH Food Pantry, which allowed Knox to increase awareness of the magnitude and scope of food insecurity in Galesburg, increase its volunteer roster, and train student groups to design their own service projects. "Knox is working alongside FISH, the Galesburg Community Foundation, and other organizations to find new solutions to the pressing issue of food insecurity in Galesburg," Heartlein said.
Community service at Knox ranges from entry-level volunteer activities to extended post-graduate commitments. Within the curriculum, four academic programs include service learning components. More than 26 student organizations engage in substantial community service.
Below, Blessings in a Backpack, Alpha Phi Omega kids' carnival, and a KnoxCorps Fellow at the Knox Prairie Community Kitchen.
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More student community service projects at the Knox College Flickr channel:
"I admire Knox College's dedication to its (KnoxCorps) partnership with the Galesburg Community Foundation," said U.S. Senator Mark Kirk in a letter of congratulations to Knox President Teresa Amott.
Sen. Kirk praised Knox's "student-led efforts to increase food security in the surrounding area through programs like Blessings in a Backpack. Such service demonstrates the strong character of the students and faculty at your institution, as well as your extensive enthusiasm to better society."
The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll named one Winner and four Finalists in each of four categories -- Economic Opportunity, Education, Interfaith Community Service, and General Community Service. Other schools chosen as Honor Roll Finalists this year include the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
The awards are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, and the Interfaith Youth Core.