Eastern has been honored by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the U.S. Department of Education as one of the nation's colleges and universities that are leading the way in bettering their communities through community service and service learning.
Eastern was one of 609 institutions of higher learning on President Obama's "Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll" that were recognized for their work in serving local communities through volunteer programs and other activities.
"Community service has been a hallmark at Eastern since our earliest days in the 1890s as the Willimantic State Normal School," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "Today, our Center for Community Engagement works closely with our faculty to ensure that the service that our students perform in local communities aligns with their academic programs. In providing thousands of hours a year of service to dozens of social agencies and nonprofits, Eastern students are demonstrating their social responsibility while learning valuable professional and organizational skills. To be recognized by President Obama as a university that exemplifies such service is something that everyone on our campus should be proud of."
Eastern students are also engaged in local schools outside of the classroom. Four hundred and forty-nine Eastern students volunteered 5,180 hours in long-term volunteering programs in Windham schools through the CCE and student clubs. Including students who participated in academic service learning, more than 1,000 students contributed more than 60,000 volunteer hours in area schools.
Also, students in the Business Administration Department provide database and website services to area nonprofits, assisting them in providing more effective services. Nonprofits also benefit from students engaged in the Community Grant Service Corps, supported by the Office of Academic Affairs. Students learn how to assist nonprofits with grant research through use of the University's "Work Hub," an on-campus worksite dedicated to community-campus collaborations.
In all, Eastern students, faculty and staff donated more than 106,000 hours of time in 2011-12 to local communities, a value of $2.3 million. "Congratulations to Eastern Connecticut State University," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. "Through its work, it is helping improve the local community and create a new generation of leaders by challenging students to go beyond the traditional college experience and solve local challenges."