In recognition of the on-going commitment to community service, Pitt-Greensburg was one of 621 universities and colleges named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. Honorees were chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
“Community service is an important part of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg educational experience,” noted R. Leigh Hoffman, assistant dean of Student Services. “Students learn the importance of contributing to the community and become empowered to help. We are very proud of the dedication and commitment our students display while making a difference in the lives of others.”
At Pitt-Greensburg, more than 800 students—or more than 50 percent of the campus FTE enrollment—participated in community service during the 2008-2009 academic year and recorded 7,000 service hours. These included, but weren’t limited to the following activities:
- Sixty-five Pitt-Greensburg students participated in the Lunch Buddy Program, a collaborative effort between Pitt-Greensburg, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and four local elementary schools. The Pitt-Greensburg mentors met once a week during the regular academic year with elementary students during lunchtime at the schools. The mentoring students had lunch, played games, and built friendships with the elementary school students. The mentors also helped the children with peer issues, social skills, or anything else the children wanted to discuss. The elementary school students benefited from the one-on-one attention and assistance in their areas of need. The Pitt-Greensburg students logged 1,300 service hours during the 2008-2009 academic year.
- Pitt-Greensburg students also experience community service through their Freshman Seminar Class Projects. More than 330 students logged 1,014 service hours last academic year. Eleven different projects were completed in the fall 2008. Agencies receiving assistance included the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, Habitat for Humanity, Weatherwood Manor, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Pet Friends, the Pet Adoption League, and Overly’s Country Christmas. The students raised funds, did manual labor, coordinated programs and events, and interacted with those in need.
- Last spring, 147 students participated in “Into the Streets,” recording 441 service hours. Seventeen faculty/staff joined them for an additional 51 service hours. Pitt-Greensburg partnered with 16 local agencies and offered 30 different volunteer opportunities.
- Pitt-Greensburg’s Early College Experience is another community service program that benefits high school seniors who have social and/or emotional disabilities. High school students with the disabilities enroll in Pitt-Greensburg’s Freshman Seminar. One or two Pitt-Greensburg students mentor each high school student throughout the semester. The mentors attend class with the senior, encourage and assist the student with projects and organization, and offer appropriate advice as role models. This past year, eight Pitt-Greensburg students recorded nearly 500 service hours as mentors. While academically capable, these high school seniors often have a more difficult time adjusting to college demands than typical freshmen. The program is a collaboration of Pitt-Greensburg faculty, local high school educators, and the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit. The program seeks to promote greater self-advocacy for the high school student, allows the student to decide if college is right for him or her, and helps the student to develop the skills necessary to survive his or her first semester of college.