DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is an honor for any college or university recognized for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dr. Ann Atkinson, WCSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, coordinated the effort to prepare the application. When asked what this distinction means for Western, she said, “Our mission statement challenges us to ‘meet the educational needs of a diversified student body through instruction, scholarship and public service.’ Being named to the Honor Roll tells us that we are teaching and modeling the importance of civic engagement for our students.”
One project that helped Western earn this distinction is “Building a Bridge to Improve Student Success.” A collaboration between WCSU and Bethel and Danbury high schools and middle schools, Bridges matches high school standards with college expectations by preparing students to continue onto a higher education and skip over remedial classes and by shortening graduation time and expense.
The Biology Department at WCSU also impressed with its research on zebra mussels in waters surrounding the area. These mussels have negative effects on the lakes in which they thrive, placing the Housatonic River, Lake Lillinonah, Lake Zoar and Candlewood Lake at risk.
Students in the Biology Department, which is coordinating its research with the Candlewood Lake Authority, have gained firsthand experience in environmental research as they collect water samples to detect and monitor the numbers of larval zebra mussels in these bodies of water.
A two-course sequence in the Social Work Department teaches students about the theories that inform community organizing and helps them put the theories into action. Recent community projects include teaching financial literacy to high school students and raising funds to build a well in Zambia.
Additional projects leading WCSU to earning this recognition are Project Homeless Connect, and WCSU Hearts Haiti.
The Honor Roll is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) strategic commitment to engage millions of college students in service. CNCS has administered the award since 2006 and manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.