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College gets recognition, top grade for community service

Holly Davis Walker/Pioneer
Thirteen Greater Grads summer interns pose for a group photo outside the VPAC building Wednesday, June 8. Students pictured include (from left to right) front row: Fabiola Cardona, Shara Hendriks, Bonny Blackmon, Grace Macias and Shellie Sterling. Second row: Robert Schertler, Matthew Bediako, Samir Howard and Levi Farmer. Top row: Vince Boyd, Steven Brannen, Sergio Lopez and Patrick Jensen.

OCCC has been recognized for its community service contribution by being named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

More than 1,200 OCCC students participated in service learning hours in 2010.

OCCC students alone contributed to more than 8,000 hours, averaging to about $160,000 in labor.

There are many ways to get involved with service learning, said Service Learning and Student Life Programs Coordinator Jill Lindblad.


Campus Groups and the Civics Honor Program are one way to be involved, she said.

There are 90 different organizations to choose from, Lindblad said, so there is bound to be one of interest to the diverse group of students on campus.

“We’re pretty proud,” she said. “We are one of 25 community colleges that received the award, and there are 1,800 community colleges in the country.”

In total, 641 colleges — both two- and four-year — received recognition for their impact.

Of that total, 511 were named to the honor roll, 114 received recognition of honor roll with distinction, and only six colleges received the Presidential award. OCCC was one of the six.

President Paul Sechrist said he is proud of the accomplishment.

“The recognition is nice and very much appreciated,” he said.

“However, the recognition is not the motivation. Helping others in need is the reason for supporting this initiative.”

Sechrist said he also took part in service learning alongside students at the Regional Food Bank service learning project.

Sechrist said OCCC does not have a specific goal for service learning,

“As long as there is a need in the community, I hope we can all pitch in to make life a little easier for those who may be experiencing a tough time,” he said.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) website notes that the selection process is more in depth than simply calculating the number of hours a college gives.

According to the CNCS, which awards the recognition, it takes many factors into consideration: innovation, how service learning is presented in the curriculum, measurable outcome, and the school’s long-term commitment to long-term partnerships with the community.

OCCC is no stranger to this award, Lindblad said. The college as been recognized three times in the past: 2007, 2009 and 2010.

“It’s not only giving back to the community,” Lindblad said.

“It’s a real world sense of leadership skills.”

Students can stop by Student Life on the first floor of the Main Building near entry MB3 or call 405-682-1611, ext. 7523, for more information about service learning projects.

For further information on the Presidential Honor Roll, visit the CNCS website at http://myproject.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.