The University of Montevallo has again been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. This honor roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for a commitment to voluntary community outreach, recognizes institutions of higher education that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.
UM students have, traditionally, displayed a commitment to community service, and that initiative culminated in the formation of the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement (OSLACE) beginning in 2009. This department serves as a connecting rod among UM faculty, staff, students, student-athletes and student Greek organizations and approximately 70 community partner agencies in the Shelby County area.
In 2014, UM was ranked in the “General Community Service” category. A few examples of service projects include the Montevallo Connection/Future Falcons program, which promotes interaction between University students and school children in the community; the Gifted Resource Class (GRC) Fun Night, in which UM Honors Program students hosted local GRC students for a night of educational entertainment and mentoring; and a senior-level class for Spanish majors, who translated documents for the Hispanic community and served at local outreach organizations. In addition, UM participated in The Big Event, a one-day service project in the local community, including such services as picking up trash, cleaning and planting flower beds, caulking windows, trimming hedges, washing windows and painting. This project has been incorporated into the university’s service mission since 2011.
Hollie Cost, service learning coordinator in UM’s Department of Service Learning and Community Engagement, who also serves as mayor of the City of Montevallo, said, “Being placed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor roll for the second year is a tremendous recognition and a testament to the dedication of University of Montevallo faculty, staff and students to meeting the needs of our community in unique and substantial ways.”
The University of Montevallo’s mission statement, vision statement and strategic plan explicitly identify service and informed citizenship as university emphases. In support of this culture, a number of academic courses include a Service Learning designation, and students who excel in service are recognized with a service cord at graduation and with a certificate on Honors Day.