WWU again lauded for community service

Then a WWU student, Kate Lewis processes Lake Whatcom samples for the Institute for Watershed Studies on April 5, 2011. To her right is WWU student Jordan Sly. The institute was one of three campus organizations singled out for recognition in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award. File photo by Daniel Berman | Communications and Marketing intern

The Institute for Watershed Studies was one of three campus organizations singled out for recognition in the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award. File photo by Michael Leese | Communications and Marketing intern

Western Today staff

Western Washington University has been selected for the national 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award, which recognizes higher education institutions across the country that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

“In the Western campus community, there is enormous dedication and passion to make life better for others. The expertise of our faculty, staff and students is highly valued for meeting critical needs in the communities we serve throughout the state,” said President Bruce Shepard.

Western was one of two Washington universities and the only public university in the state of Washington selected for Distinction this year. Seattle University was the other honoree. This is the third consecutive year Western has received the award.

For the 2013 award, Western was recognized for: the programs and services of the Center for Service-Learning, Compass 2 Campus and the Institute for Watershed Studies.

The Center for Service Learning offers services that facilitate partnerships that meet the common goals of the WWU, local, regional and international communities.

“The Center for Service-Learning is pleased to represent Western’s increasing commitment to the educational and civic goals of community engagement and service. Now more than ever in these times of shrinking resources, we should be forming more public and private partnerships that will strengthen communities for generations to come. This national recognition affirms that we are on the right track,” said Tim Costello, director of the Center for Service-Learning.

Compass 2 Campus is a program at Western designed to increase access to higher education by providing an opportunity for 5th-12th grade students from traditionally underrepresented and diverse backgrounds in Whatcom and Skagit counties to be mentored by university students.

“The success of Compass 2 Campus is the result of the caring and dedicated Western student mentors, who are changing the lives of area school children,” said Cyndie Shepard, director of Compass 2 Campus.

The Institute for Watershed Studies (IWS) supports student internships and research in a variety of public service projects, including small lakes sampling that collects information from more than 60 lakes in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, and Island counties.

“This award is a great way to recognize the many students, faculty and staff associated with IWS who have developed partnerships with the community to provide a better understanding of local and regional watershed issues,” said Robin Matthews, director of the Institute for Watershed Studies.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina; the initiative celebrates the volunteer spirit that exists within the higher education community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education.

Western has received numerous recognitions for its community outreach and service. Compass 2 Campus Director Cyndie Shepard recently received a national Point of Light Award and also was named to the Northwest Hall of Fame for her work with Compass 2 Campus. Also, Western is No. 1 on the Peace Corps 2013 Top Colleges rankings among medium schools with 73 undergraduate alumni currently serving.