Stories

Vol State Receives Service Learning and Community Service Recognition

Submitted on March 19, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Volunteer State Community College has been named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual Honor Roll award, recognized more than 600 colleges and universities for their impact on social issues.

"This recognition represents a significant commitment that the college makes to the service community in civic and community engagement," said Vol State Service Learning director Dr. Rick Parrent.

Vol State was recognized for several projects, including a class service learning project that sought to enhance social service information availability for the public through the United Way 2-1-1 phone number.

"The 2-1-1 number is the state's information source for all social services. The budget has been cut and there was no way to keep the database updated, "said Vol State instructor Bridgett Augustino-Wilke. "The students in the social science classes generated lists of what needed to be updated. They interviewed the agencies, learning more about what they do, and then updated those profiles."

Augustino-Wilke has led the effort for five semesters, involving more than 200 students.

"Going down that list and seeing what services are available to people allows you to learn about these agencies," said student David Unland of Mt Juliet. "You build a network and there's a connection between the classroom and the community."

Service learning projects are directly tied to a course curriculum and broaden student understanding of the material and as they apply it to the real world. Vol State has several service learning projects each year, in several different classes. The projects can benefit students and help the community.

"The people who call 2-1-1 are in need, or in crisis, and information accuracy is everything," said Katherine Delgado, the 2-1-1 supervisor for the nonprofit Family and Children's Service, which manages 211 with the United Way. "We have 5,700 resources in our database that need to be updated with one part-time person to do it. With the Vol State program our cost savings has been more than $200,000."

Anyone in the state can use the free 2-1-1 phone service by simply dialing from any phone. It operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Other projects at Vol State recognized in the Honor Roll include the annual Science and Math Expo, which brings hands-on science activities to area school kids and a college substance abuse prevention program. For more information on Service Learning at Vol State visit

www.volstate.edu/servicelearning

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Pictured: Vol State students and faculty participated in the Service Learning program that helped Tennessee nonprofits. Left to right: David Unland, student; Katherine Delgado, 2-1-1 supervisor; Bridgett Augustino-Wilke, instructor; and Rick Parrent, Director of Career Placement, Cooperative Education and Service Learning.

A service provided by the Office of Public Relations.