The Corporation for National and Community Service has recognized Stony Brook University as a member of the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for 2014 for Community Service, Economic Opportunity and Education. In addition, Stony Brook was awarded Honor Roll with Distinction for a new category: Interfaith Community Service.
The announcements were made public on December 8, 2014. In 2011 the White House, along with the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for National and Community Service, issued a campus challenge to higher education presidents in the United States to commit to interfaith service programming at their schools. The goal was to bring together people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds to serve communities in need. Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, accepted the challenge, and called upon campus ministries to develop programs in response.
The Stony Brook University Interfaith Center reflects the diverse religious traditions on campus, and works with students, faculty and staff on programs that improve the quality of life on and off campus. One of their recent projects was Hurricane Sandy Relief Day. More than 20 students and staff from the Hillel Foundation for Jewish Life, the Catholic Campus Ministry and the Asian Christian Campus Ministry joined forces last spring to help a homeowner in need of mold removal in the aftermath of the storm. The volunteers worked together toward a common goal — to help a family and a Long Island community on the road to recovery. They also participated in The Midnight Run, during which students provided food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless in New York City. The students spent time connecting with the homeless, hearing their stories and providing much-needed human contact.
Stony Brook continues to be applauded for providing opportunities for students, faculty and staff to be involved in sustained, lifelong community engagement. The University’s application, compiled by the Career Center, highlighted 9,550 students engaging in more than 111,000 hours of community service over the past year, making it clear that service is a major component of the University’s aims.
Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is designed to acknowledge colleges and universities that focus on community service and service learning for solving community problems. Universities are evaluated based on four categories: General Community Service, Economic Opportunity, Education, and most recently, Interfaith Community Service.
Stony Brook has excelled in all four categories. To qualify for the award, a school must devote at least 7 percent of its work-study funding to community service projects. With 22 percent of its work-study funding dedicated to community service positions, Stony Brook exceeds the minimum standard. Qualifying programs must also achieve measurable and meaningful outcomes, and the University is always seeking new and meaningful ways to serve and extend educational and economic opportunities to the surrounding community. Stony Brook students are true community-oriented leaders, dedicated to envisioning and implementing a better world.
The service work they performed this year includes a collaboration among Seawolves Against Cancer, the National Residence Hall Honorary, the Residence Hall Association, and the Undergraduate Student Government to establish a local bone marrow registry; ’Tis the Season, a holiday fundraiser for multiple charities; free dental education and cleanings provided by the School of Dental Medicine to Riverhead elementary school students; and Alternative Spring Break Outreach, in which students spent their spring break helping families affected by Hurricane Isaac in Biloxi, Mississippi. For more information on community service and service learning projects on campus, visit stonybrook.edu/commcms/communityservice.