Oswego is among only six dozen colleges and universities nationwide -- and one of two in the SUNY system -- to receive the "with Distinction" honor this year, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which uses the program to encourage "meaningful, measureable outcomes" in communities through service.
Alyssa Amyotte, coordinator of service learning and community service at SUNY Oswego, said the honor is "a testament to the campuswide commitment to community engagement."
"There is great support from staff and faculty, but I give the most credit to students who choose to volunteer and participate in service-learning courses on top of their already hectic schedules," Amyotte said. "We would not be receiving recognition such as this without them."
More than 750 colleges and universities were named to this year's Honor Roll, a list Oswego has joined each year since its inception in 2006. SUNY Cortland joined Oswego on the 2014 "with Distinction" roster.
"Service and higher education go hand in hand," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. "These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement."
Among SUNY Oswego's many community service initiatives are Adopt-A-Grandparent, where students work and play alongside residents of area homes for the elderly; Alternative Breaks, during which students volunteer over winter and spring breaks to complete tasks in areas less fortunate; Mentor Oswego, connecting college students with local schoolchildren as positive role models; a pilot program in STEM Afterschool Mentoring, which worked with Oswego Middle School students this spring in robotics, forensics and others areas of science, technology, engineering and math; clubs such as Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross and Students Against Cancer; and volunteerism in the greater Oswego community, such as at Harborfest.
SUNY Oswego also has received the Carnegie Foundation's multiyear Community Engagement Classification for embedding community service throughout the institution. The college has been a founding member since 2001 of the New York Campus Compact to encourage community service and civic engagement.