University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) was named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll With Distinction by The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), recognizing outreach efforts and thousands of hours UHD students devoted to community service. UHD has been recognized by CNCS annually since 2007 and this is the first year they’ve received the award with distinction.
Honorees are chosen based on the scope and innovation of service projects, student participation, service incentives, academic service-learning courses and other factors. UHD is among only 110 universities nationally named to the Honor Roll With Distinction and the only public university in Texas to receive this particular recognition. The award is the highest federal recognition a university or college can receive for such initiatives.
Through UHD’s Community Involvement Center, students collected 760 pounds of food for the Houston Food Bank and 336 units of blood during blood drives, decorated holiday cards for Interfaith Ministries to be distributed through Meals on Wheels, and donated more than 110 pounds of food from UHD’s Sustainable Garden to Target Hunger. The Departments of Urban Education and Natural Sciences partnered with two area elementary schools to teach scientific skills and lessons to students. Also, a UHD learning community, the Houston Urban Network for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (HUNSTEM), developed a computer game-based learning tool for secondary students in STEM fields. With the help of many UHD students, over 14,000 visitors have used HUNSTEM in the past year to find resources and participate in projects and collaborations.
UHD's application cited its integration of High Impact Practices into the curriculum, volunteer efforts through UHD’s Community Involvement Center, as well as partnerships between the Urban Education and Natural Sciences Departments and local elementary schools, and the creation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning tools for the greater Houston area.
"Civic engagement is an integral component of UHD's mission," said Jean DeWitt, UHD's Director of Community Engagement. “Being recognized for our commitment to community service allows UHD to be known nationally for its best practices in creating transformative experiences for students.”
UHD President Bill Flores said, "UHD is located in the heart of downtown Houston. An urban university, especially one like UHD, must be committed to building relationships within the diverse communities we serve. We believe the UHD community excels in its community service endeavors."
The Corporation for National and Community Service oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education. The goal of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
About University of Houston-Downtown
University of Houston-Downtown is the second largest university in Houston and the 15th largest four-year, public university in Texas. One of the most ethnically diverse universities in the country, UHD ranks 37th nationally for graduating both Hispanic and African-American students with bachelor's degrees. In the last academic year, 2,437 students were awarded baccalaureate degrees by UHD.