Posted October 19, 2006 Atlanta
Communications & Marketing
Contact Lisa Grovenstein
TEAM Buzz to bring record turn out for volunteers on Oct. 21
The Georgia Institute of Technology was recently named to the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service in recognition of extraordinary volunteer efforts by the university and its students to serve area neighborhoods and Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Georgia Tech and 140 other institutions of higher education were recognized for distinguished service among the nearly 500 schools named to the President's Honor Roll at the recent Campus Compact 20th Anniversary. Schools receiving distinguished service recognition provided exceptional community service over the past year, contributing their time, resources, energy, skills - and intellect - to serve America.
"This distinction recognizes Georgia Tech's incredible response to Hurricane Katrina victims," said Sarah Brackmann, assistant director of student involvement for community service at Georgia Tech. "The campus raised more than $50,000 for relief efforts, served as a temporary Red Cross shelter, assisted students evacuees from Tulane University, and more than 350 Tech students have traveled to the Gulf coast to volunteer for rebuilding efforts."
"We continue to have students traveling to the Gulf Coast to volunteer their time to rebuild homes damaged by Katrina. Over fall break a group of students traveled to New Orleans, and we are currently planning a similar trip over winter break to the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Brackmann.
"Georgia Tech has set a strong example for college-level civic engagement," said Stephen Goldsmith, chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that works to foster a culture of volunteering and service in America. "Many people and communities have been improved because Georgia Tech and its students identified some of society's most pressing needs and got involved."
"Georgia Tech has strong community outreach programs where Tech students volunteer in nearby schools providing tutoring, mentoring, leadership skills, and even help to coordinate sports programs like swimming and soccer, to Atlanta school children," said Andrea Ashmore, special assistant to the President and director of institute partnerships at Georgia Tech. "Our students serve as positive role models and give their time to encourage these youngsters to stay in school and excel."
It is fitting that the President's Honor Roll distinction comes just before the tenth anniversary of TEAM Buzz on October 21, an annual philanthropic initiative that brings together students, faculty and alumni for a day of service in Atlanta. This year's organizers expect a record turnout 2,000 volunteers participating in 43 unique projects like hosting a College Day for inner-city youth, assisting the elderly with home repairs, and running a carnival for at-risk children.
At Georgia Tech, there are 22 student organizations that have mission statements that specifically focus on community service. These organizations range from one-day service projects such as TEAM Buzz, organizations that focus on specific issues or offer ongoing opportunities for their members, to philanthropy events that raise money for non-profit organizations.
The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is co-sponsored by the Corporation, the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The recognition is presented in cooperation with Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 college and university presidents, and supported by all the major national higher education associations.
The award presentations came a day after the Corporation for National and Community Service released a comprehensive study showing college student civic engagement has risen significantly in recent years. The study, which used data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that student volunteering increased approximately 20 percent from 2002 to 2005, and that 3.3 million college students serve their communities and nation. The study showed that college students between ages 16 to 24 are more likely to volunteer than cohorts in that age group who are not enrolled.
Observers have attributed the growth in student service to several causes: the proliferation of high-school and college service-learning classes; an increase in the number of campus offices that link students to volunteer opportunities, and the lingering impact of the September 11 and Hurricane Katrina catastrophes.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is working with other federal agencies, higher education and student associations, and nonprofit organizations to encourage even greater levels of service and civic engagement by college students. Their goal is to increase the number of college student participating in volunteer service to 5 million college students annually by 2010.
The Honor Roll provides more new evidence that the nation is beginning to move toward that level of student civic engagement. More than 1.1 million students from Honor Roll schools participated in local community service activities, and more than 219,000 Honor Roll students provided hurricane relief.
A total of 492 institutions - including private and public schools, four-year institutions, professional schools, and community colleges - were named to the first Honor Roll. Those schools chronicled a broad variety of service programs and activities that have strengthened neighborhoods around them and in the Gulf region.