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University at Albany Named to President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 25, 2015) – The University at Albany’s commitment to improving the quality of life in the Capital District and beyond earned it a place on the 2014 (U.S.) President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.   The national designation is granted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to those colleges and universities that address and impact community needs, particularly those of low-income individuals.   Contributing to this national designation was an estimated student participation rate of nearly 41 percent in community service as well as three “exemplar” programs that address pressing community needs through community-engaged courses, a micro-lending program for small businesses, and a long-standing tutoring and mentoring program in science and technology fields for middle and high school students from underrepresented groups.

community service

UAlbany students foster academic achievement by introducing students to new career paths.

UAlbany’s three exemplar programs featured a partnership with a major credit union as well as collaborations with many non-profit organizations and public schools. The exemplars include:

   ·         Community and Public Service Program (CPSP) – Administered by the School of Social Welfare, the program offers three courses through which undergraduates from all majors provide 60 or 100 hours of service per semester. Through this initiative, almost 700 students advanced the missions of 140 community and public organizations during the 2012-2013 academic year, for a total of almost 52,000 hours.

Often serving the most vulnerable populations, the students’ activities ranged from efforts to alleviate poverty, help youth succeed in and out of the classroom, address social justice and other public issues, and assist in health-care facilities. In addition, CPSP arranges for UAlbany students to act as tutors or mentors in one of the City School District of Albany’s 17 schools.

In 2012-2013, almost 250 UAlbany students served more than 18,000 hours mentoring and tutoring an estimated 2,400 youth in and around the region. CPSP also helps UAlbany student-led groups develop sustained community partnerships.

   ·         Small Enterprise Economic Development Program (SEED) – A UAlbany micro-lending program, SEED addresses the needs of underserved minority and low-income entrepreneurs. The program includes capital access and capacity building through counseling, eight weeks of training, mentoring, and peer support. This social entrepreneurship program helps create new businesses, strengthens existing businesses, and improves job prospects in distressed communities.

In 2012-2013, 15 small businesses were awarded loans of $450,000 and 47 jobs were saved or created. These businesses included a basketball camp for urban youth, a coffee shop, catering service and bakery.

In three years, SEED has invested more than $1.2 million in 37 small businesses while saving or creating over 150 jobs. SEED links faculty, staff, and students from the schools of Social Welfare and Business and our Small Business Development Center with $2.5 million in financial support from SEFCU. Empire State Development provided operating support over three years.

  ·         Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) – Through tutoring and mentoring, STEP works to increase the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students who enter college, and to improve their participation in mathematics, science, technology, health-related fields, and the licensed professions. This state-funded program is a critical part of the work of UAlbany’s Office of Access and Academic Enrichment.

The program matches UAlbany undergraduates with middle and high school students, largely from the City School District of Albany. Most of the students who receive tutoring are from low-income households and reside in distressed neighborhoods. The UAlbany students foster academic achievement by working to help increase GPAs, to improve study habits in all subjects, particularly math and science, and by introducing students to new career paths. UAlbany’s tutors and mentors are important role models who demonstrate, through their own success, that college is attainable.

In 2012-2013, STEP assisted more than 200 students through tutoring and mentoring.

CNCS 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. Honor Roll honorees are chosen based on the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, a school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.  

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.