Saint Mary's College of California Honored for Distinguished Service in Hurricane Relief

For Immediate Release

Debra Holtz
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222
[email protected]

Moraga, Calif. - Saint Mary's College of California received national recognition today for its Gulf Coast hurricane relief efforts by being named to the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Saint Mary's College was one of 141 institutions of higher education recognized for distinguished community service among the nearly 500 schools named to the President's Honor Roll.

In January and April of 2005, 38 Saint Mary's College students traveled to New Orleans and performed an estimated 5,000 hours of hurricane relief. They cleared debris from storm-battered homes, restored parks and community gardens, and helped a school prepare to reopen.

"We promote a culture of service at Saint Mary's College and are proud of our students for the many hours they devoted to helping the people of New Orleans," said Brother Ronald Gallagher, president of Saint Mary's College.

Saint Mary's also enrolled 10 undergraduate students displaced from their Gulf Coast universities by Hurricane Katrina during the 2005 fall semester so that they could continue their studies while their own schools recovered from the hurricane damage.

Today's award follows a national report released yesterday by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, that shows civic engagement by college students has risen significantly in recent years. The study concluded that student volunteering increased approximately 20 percent from 2002 to 2005, and that 3.3 million college students volunteered for various causes in 2005.

Observers have attributed the growth in student service to several causes: the proliferation of high-school and college service-learning classes; an increase in the number of campus offices that link students to volunteer opportunities, and the lingering impact of the September 11 and Hurricane Katrina catastrophes.

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is co-sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The recognition is presented in cooperation with Campus Compact, a national coalition of nearly 1,000 college and university presidents, and supported by all the major national higher education associations.