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UNI named one of 14 finalists to presidential honor roll

March 4, 2013

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa is one of 14 colleges and universities, and the top college in Iowa, to be recognized as a finalist for the Presidential Award in the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. This is the fifth year UNI has made the honor roll and the second year it has been named a finalist.

"This is a great honor for UNI and shows our commitment to community engagement and service as a university," said Ben Allen, UNI president. "Our faculty, staff and students dedicate their time to a variety of community service activities that enhance education, business and community causes and environmental efforts."

UNI has been named to the honor roll since 2008. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses and measurable community outcomes.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) named 832 higher education institutions to the 2013 honor roll which includes five awardees, 14 finalists, 113 honor roll with distinction and 690 others schools.

College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2012, 3.1 million students performed more than 118 million hours of service, service valued at $2.5 billion.

Students gave more than 730,000 service hours to the special projects for which UNI has been recognized as a finalist:

-Books Without Borders - the students in one teacher education faculty member’s courses collaborated with students from two local high schools and a nearby college to write approximately 300 bilingual books for children in orphanages in Panama and Haiti to support their literacy needs.

-Theatre and drama for students on Autism Spectrum - Spectrum Theatre engages UNI theatre and music faculty and students in activities serving youth ages 6 to 18 years on the autism spectrum through in-school, after-school and weekend programs.

-UNI green and sustainability projects - initiatives range from providing environmentally-focused educational opportunities for elementary students to recycling efforts at athletic events to promotion of locally grown products and composts.

-Camp Adventure Child and Youth Services - the program is supported through federal grants and contracts with non-appropriated funds and operated on bases of all four branches of the U.S. military, as well as U.S. embassies. Summer programs are provided by university students from more than 90 colleges and universities.

-UNI's Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE) teaching creativity skills sixth grade summer program – a part of UNI-CUE's summer program for low-income sixth-grade students from diverse communities of the Waterloo School District.

-UNI-CUE Leadership Academy – a program that provides a four-week intensive academic summer program for fifth graders as they prepare to enter middle school in the fall.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Through the agency’s Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program, CNCS gives education institutions access to tens of thousands of AmeriCorps alumni with millions of dollars in Segal Education Awards for tuitions and fees. For more information, visit