The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has been recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) by earning a place on the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This is the third consecutive year that Pitt-Johnstown has earned the prestigious honor, which is the highest federal recognition that a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
Pitt-Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar commented, "To be recognized for the third year is further validation of our successful efforts at engaging and transforming our communities and educating the servant-leaders of tomorrow. I am deeply grateful to our students, faculty, and staff for their commitment to giving back to the community that has helped to build and sustain our fine school for 85 years."
During the 2010-2011 academic year, the period for which the school is being recognized, Pitt-Johnstown students, faculty, and staff performed more than 11,500 hours of service, positively impacting the lives of approximately 4,600 individuals. Among the major service projects were:
Pitt-Johnstown @ Your Service
Faculty, staff, and students at Pitt-Johnstown annually support community organizations by offering their time, talents, and expertise as part of the signature "Pitt-Johnstown @ Your Service" initiative. Included in the initiative are three core components including a dedicated "Pitt-Johnstown @ Your Service Week," a seven-day period during which students and employees participate in a variety of volunteer opportunities designed to address areas of vital importance to both Pitt-Johnstown and the community. Activities focus on health promotion, veteran outreach, education, and meeting the needs of disadvantaged populations. The second component is "PITT-nic in the Park," which attracts an average of 750 community members for a free celebration that annually coincides with Pitt-Johnstown's founding date. The final component, "Pitt-Johnstown Athletes @ Your Service," engaged student-athletes in 35 service projects last year, including several projects with the Alternative Community Resource Program in which the student-athletes served as mentors and positive role models for at-risk youth. Student-athletes, by conducting fundraisers at their various sporting events, raised more than $10,000 for charities including the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The student-athletes' commitment to the Make-A-Wish foundation earned the distinction of being ranked fifth in the nation for fundraising success among NCAA Division II schools.
The Pitt-Johnstown RealWorld Action Program
The RealWorld Action Program, the centerpiece of co-curricular and student development initiatives at Pitt-Johnstown, offers students the opportunity to develop customized personal and professional development plans to develop as agents of positive change in our communities and our world. In total, 437 students, representing 15% of Pitt-Johnstown's student body, performed 10,000 hours of service. Throughout the year, students served meals to 120 community residents, interacted with nearly 200 K-12 students as tutors or readers, collected more than 50 bags of trash as part of an environmental cleanup initiative, and volunteered at medical facilities. In total, 3,000 individuals were served by the students.
Pitt-Johnstown Habitat for Humanity
Involvement by Pitt-Johnstown students in Habitat for Humanity places the school among the most active collegiate chapters in the country. During the week of March 6, 2011, 62 students and 7 staff members were registered for the Habitat for Humanity Challenge Alternative Spring Break. Nationally, 11,684 participants from 538 colleges or universities participated in the program, with an average participation rate of 21.7 per institution. Pitt-Johnstown's participation was three times the national average. During the one-week period, Pitt-Johnstown participants traveled to Freeport, Fla. and Pittsboro, NC, where they completed 2,500 hours of construction, contributing to the construction of two homes. Additionally, the Pitt-Johnstown chapter donated $9,000 to the host affiliates in Florida and North Carolina, and assisted in the summer build of a four-story, two-family home in Montreal.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted a total of 642 colleges and universities for their impact on issues from literacy and neighborhood revitalization to supporting at-risk youth. Campuses named to this year's Honor Roll reported that more than 1.6 million students participated in community service, serving a total of more than 105 million hours.
Robert Velasco, Acting CEO of CNCS , commented, “Through service, these institutions are creating the next generation of leaders by challenging students to tackle tough issues and create positive impacts in the community. We applaud the Honor Roll schools, their faculty and students for their commitment to make service a priority in and out of the classroom. Together, service and learning increase civic engagement while fostering social innovation among students, empowering them to solve challenges within their communities.”
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization" for 2011. Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.