Together, Washington Campus Compact and Inspireum have created the Students in Service Awards™ program to search the nation for outstanding college students who deserve recognition and reward for their inspirational efforts to address social and environmental challenges facing our communities. In sharing their outstanding service stories, we also hope to engage the broader public in supporting students, higher education, and nonprofit organizations as they work together to improve education and address community challenges.
Community service offers demonstrable benefits that go far beyond the impact on recipients. Service teaches us how to become engaged, responsible citizens, and is a vital activity for cultivating the next generation of civic leaders. Meaningful service is an effective strategy to help students:
- - stay engaged in their education and stay in school
- - build strong connections to their communities
- - apply their education to solve real problems
- - promote positive social behaviors
- - cultivate workforce skills
- - develop lifelong habits of leadership, problem-solving and empathy
Service also connects college students to potential employers, allows students to apply principles they learn in class to the real world of work, and encourages exploration of careers in service-oriented fields.
Service-learning, integrated into practices of colleges and community-based organizations, helps us achieve higher college graduation rates and develop future leaders with deep commitments to strengthening our communities. More than 70% of the almost 2,000 student volunteers and service-learners who responded to Washington Campus Compact’s 2007-2008 Civic Engagement Survey reported an increased capacity to create positive change in communities, and a strong intention to continue serving the community. Through the Students in Service Awards™, we endeavor to foster a culture of service, and help more Americans experience what so many of us have long taken as an article of faith: that service is not just a virtue, but an opportunity to transform lives.
Through the Students in Service Awards™ we seek to:
- - Award scholarships to outstanding college students to encourage their continued leadership in working to solve critical community challenges
- - Motivate more college students to engage in service as an opportunity to impact social and environmental issues and gain valuable skills
- - Inspire community members to donate time and money to the nonprofits and colleges that support student civic engagement
- - Educate students, colleges, nonprofits, and the general public about the transformational impact of meaningful, high quality service and service-learning