Augustana Recognized for Community Service Efforts

Augustana once again is among the nation’s leading colleges and universities dedicated to volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education.

For the fourth year in a row, Augustana has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, that has administered the Honor Roll since 2006 for engaging its students, faculty and staff in meaningful service.

“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service in a press release from the CNCS. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

The Augustana Students’ Association (ASA) requires each of the College’s more than 60 student organizations to serve in the community twice per semester. Furthermore, the College’s office of Residential Life requires individuals living in college-owned houses off-campus to develop a service theme (e.g., “Homelessness Awareness”) that will be beneficial to the Augustana or Sioux Falls communities, and organize service projects toward that theme throughout the academic year.

At Augustana, in between classes and coursework, students, faculty and staff have worked to give back to their community and help people in need through efforts such as these:

  • Teen Town, a program managed by 25 members of Serving and Learning Together (SALT), aims to fill the giving gap for teens (13 to 18) who are too old to receive Salvation Army’s Toy Town by providing gifts valued at approximately $25 to underprivileged teens. In 2012, the Teen Town program provided gifts for more than 500 teenagers in the Sioux Falls Community.
  • On April 9, 2013, the Sioux Falls community was devastated by a powerful ice storm. This dangerous storm downed countless trees, which resulted in thousands of Sioux Falls residents losing power. The Augustana College campus was located in one of the hardest-hit areas of the city. More than fifty Augustana College students took to the streets and neighborhoods surrounding campus to help residents clean up the mess.
  • Traditionally, Augustana’s core value of Service is celebrated by engaging in a service project aimed at helping the community. On Saturday, April 20, 2013, more than 100 students partnered with students from the University of Sioux Falls to pack meals for Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing healthy meals for children in need. Students worked together to package 32,184 meals in four hours. Those meals were then given to hungry families both worldwide and in the Sioux Falls community.
  • Already, 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for service. This summer, the Big Ideas Committee, a group on campus dedicated to making big contributions to the community surrounding Augustana, announced plans to host an entirely student-run house-build on the site of Solveig Steen's former home.

According to the Independent Sector's Value of Volunteer Time, the value of volunteer time in South Dakota is $19.04 per hour. Augustana students have dedicated 5000 hours of volunteer time from July 2012 to June 2013, a value of $95,200 to the State of South Dakota.

A total of 766 higher education institutions were named to the 2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. On campuses across the country, millions of college students are engaged in innovative projects to meet local needs, often using the skills learned in classrooms. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service to communities across the country, service valued at more than $2.5 billion.