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Blinn earns federal government’s highest recognition for community service and civic engagement

This marks the sixth time Blinn has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

November 10, 2016

Blinn College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service learning, and civic engagement.

This marks the sixth time Blinn has been awarded the designation, which honors the College’s exemplary community service programs and commitment to service learning. Administered by the Corporation for National & Community Service, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll highlights the role of colleges and universities in addressing community needs and placing students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.

“Blinn College has long understood that a quality education is most meaningful when students can apply their newfound knowledge toward civic service,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn College District President/CEO. “Blinn takes tremendous pride in being a community college that always puts the community first.”

Blinn was recognized in three categories: Education Service, which honors commitment to improving educational outcomes for children and youth in pre-kindergarten through undergraduate education; General Community Service, which honors community service off-campus, particularly working with low-income individuals; and Economic Opportunity Service, which honors volunteerism in service programs that build economic independence, increase family stability, and create more sustainable and resilient communities. From 50 Texas community colleges, Blinn was one of just four recognized for General Community Service, two recognized for Economic Opportunity Service, and three recognized for Education Service.

In 2015, Blinn was recertified with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Carnegie Classification, which places Blinn among the nation’s top 5 percent of colleges and universities in terms of documented public service. Blinn is one of 12 Texas colleges and universities to have earned the Community Engagement Classification, including just one other community college.

Blinn’s Service Learning Program combines community service with classroom instruction or student club activities, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility to engage students. Service Learning programs involve students in activities that address local needs while developing their academic or professional skills and commitment to their community. Since the Service Learning Program was established, Blinn students have documented more than 575,000 hours of community service valued at $11.5 million by the Points of Light Foundation.

Between July 2014 and June 2015, the time frame for this year’s award, Blinn students recorded 67,432 of community service.

“Blinn College students believe in serving their community,” said Dr. Greg Phillips, Dean of Instructional Administration. “Blinn’s Service Learning courses and service-oriented student organizations provide a wealth of opportunities for students to take the principles and ideas they learn in the classroom and apply them to improving our community.”

Blinn’s Service Learning Program is coordinated by Agricultural Sciences Professor Brice Mund on the Brenham Campus and Government Professor Gilbert Schorlemmer on the Bryan Campus.

Blinn’s community efforts include the Dental Hygiene Program’s annual Give Kids a Smile event in Bryan, which provides exams, X-rays, cleanings, sealants and oral health education to local children without access to regular dental care. This year’s event provided $14,336 in preventative care in partnership with the Brazos Valley Dental Society, Brazos Valley Dental Hygiene Society, Bryan Independent School District and local dentistry professionals.

Other projects include Blinn emergency medical services, vocational nursing, and associate degree nursing students volunteering at local clinics and hospitals; natural science students volunteering at local animal shelters; agriculture students working with Texas Parks and Wildlife and 4-H organizations; and social sciences students volunteering at local Democratic and Republican headquarters.

Earlier this year, Blinn introduced the Buccaneer Big Event, formerly the Blinn Blitz, a single-day community service effort spearheaded by students enrolled in the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham.