EWING, NJ … The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) is among six universities from across the country to be recognized for exceptional commitment to civic engagement and service learning. The 2010 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award, given by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) will be presented at TWC’s annual Academic Award Luncheon in Washington, D.C. at the National Press Club on Oct. 4, 2010. The six honorees were chosen from among 120 nominees.
TCNJ and its Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement will be recognized for the work of the Bonner Community Scholars Corps (BCSC), an intentionally diverse four-year student leadership program. Through this initiative, 70 scholarship students form 12 issue-based teams at the start of each academic year and work with non-profit partners to identify and address the unmet needs of the community. In collaboration with faculty and staff, these teams also mobilize their peers to make a difference—including all 1,400 first-year students as part of the First Year Community Engaged Learning graduation requirement. Recent programs include the creation a youth development conference with students from 10 different academic classes, building a community garden on campus to provide vegetables to a local soup kitchen, helping to establish a campuswide effort to support recovery efforts in Haiti, starting a prisoner magazine to develop the writing skills of inmates, and delivering writing/reflection workshops to juvenile offenders. As a result of the efforts of the Bonners and the students they mobilize, local organizations working on some of society’s most intractable problems—such as hunger, homelessness and recidivism—receive approximately 30,000 hours worth of additional energy and skills each year.
The award will be presented by Dr. Richard Wood, Dean Emeritus from the Yale Divinity School and Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Center. Carol Bresnahan, Provost/Executive Vice President of The College New Jersey will accept the award. She will be joined by Patrick Donohue, Director of the Bonner Center as well as the Center’s staff and alumni.
“The College of New Jersey is a true role model for civic engagement in the academic community,” said Mike Smith, president of TWC. “The university is teaching students a quality that can’t be learned in the classroom alone, the importance of getting involved, giving back and making a difference.”
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit. The largest program of its kind, The Washington Center has close to 40,000 alumni who have become leaders in numerous professions and nations around the world. It was established in 1975.