MU named to 2009 President

MU was recognized for the 3rd straight year.
Misericordia University has been named for the third straight year by the Corporation for National and Community Service to the 2009 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.

The Honor Roll award recognizes more than 700 institutions of higher education for their impact on issues from poverty and homelessness to environmental justice. On campuses across the country, thousands of students joined their faculty to develop innovative programs and projects to meet local needs using the skills gained in their classroom. Health science majors worked in clinics, teacher education majors tutored elementary and high school students, and business majors collaborated with regional municipal governments.

“Service has been the hallmark of this institution since the Sisters of Mercy founded it in 1924,’’ said Linda Ross, director of the Service Leadership Center at Misericordia University. “By imbuing in each student a sense of service to others, Misericordia is helping students discover the opportunities they need to be successful in both their careers and lives.’’

The Community Service Honor Roll was launched in 2006. It is the highest federal recognition a college or university can achieve for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors, including scope and innovative service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service and the institution’s academic service-learning courses.

Misericordia service is steeped in tradition. The Religious Sisters of Mercy founded MU based on four tenets that outline its mission of mercy, service, justice and hospitality. Since then, the university community has advocated service and volunteerism among its students, faculty and staff.

During the 2008-09 academic year, 826 Misericordia students engaged in academic service-learning courses and 779 students participated in community service. Overall, the university had 1,605 students participate in community service, while 453 of them engaged in at least 20 hours of community service per semester. MU students provided 131,561 hours of service overall for the 12-month period ending June 30.

Service opportunity come in many forms at Misericordia. Campus Ministry organizes service teams that focus on at-risk children and issues of poverty, empowerment for those in need and social justice. Campus Ministry has spearheaded service trips to Guyana, Jamaica, California, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and in the greater community.

Twenty-eight students and faculty, for example, served the men, women and children of Guyana in hospitals, clinics and neighborhoods by providing both clinical and helping skills. Nursing students and faculty members spent spring break instructing, learning and practicing medicine alongside their South American counterparts. Students applied their clinical skills and learned how to react to difficult circumstances that can develop without notice in any hospital or clinical setting.

Misericordia students also tackled environmental issues through the student-run group, “Cougars for Change,’’ which logged 30 service hours and left a lasting impression on campus. The students organized campus-wide initiatives like Earth Hour, Trayless Tuesday to reduce electricity consumption and food waste.

The Honor Roll is a Corporation for National and Community Service program, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

For more information about service or service learning at Misericordia University, please call Ross at (570) 674-6322 or e-mail her at


Misericordia University student Amanda Ollivier poses for a picture with school children at Sacred Heart Children’s School in Laredo, Texas, during a recent spring break service trip.