With more than 10,000 volunteer community service hours, Lone Star College-CyFair students are not only making an impact in the Cy-Fair area, but have earned the college national recognition for their exemplary service efforts.
The Corporation for National and Community Service recently honored LSC-CyFair with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to Service Learning and civic engagement.
“We are excited to have earned this national recognition for LSC-CyFair and to honor our faculty, particularly since we don’t have a large program,” said Ronnie Nespeca, Service Learning director. “This college incorporated Service Learning soon after opening just five short years ago. And while we have a limited number of faculty offering Service Learning courses, they are truly dedicated to this great cause.”
Service Learning is a teaching method that combines academic instruction with community service that addresses area needs as well as develops student skills, a sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the surrounding community.
“Through Service Learning, you are not only helping students learn, but you’re providing a service to a community agency that needs assistance,” Nespeca said.
LSC-CyFair partners with area non-profit organizations through several semester-long courses with Service Learning designations.
For example, Nespeca’s kinesiology students work with special needs adult clients at Reach Unlimited in both health and fitness programs and workforce development programs. Julio Montes’ Construction Methods and Materials students received hands-on experience in residential construction as they helped build homes with Northwest Harris County Habitat for Humanity. Sharon Bippus’ ESOL international students made new friends in their weekly opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills when matched with assisted-living center residents.
“Such service learning experiences strengthen our students’ civic engagement, and the impact of the relationships encourages our students to stay involved in the community,” said Nespeca. “It’s rewarding at the end of the semester to see students still volunteering on a continual basis. In fact one of my students got a job at Reach Unlimited after his experience and changed his career path 100 percent.”
In addition to accounting students, who are assisting community members with their tax preparations each spring, and some elementary education students, who have volunteered in Cy-Fair Independent School District classrooms, LSC-CyFair student organizations are putting in volunteer community service hours throughout the year.
“In this time of economic distress, we need volunteers more than ever. College students represent an enormous pool of idealism and energy to help tackle some of our toughest challenges,” said Stephen Goldsmith, vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the Honor Roll. “We salute Lone Star College-CyFair for making community service a campus priority, and thank the millions of college students who are helping to renew America through service to others.”
For information on Service Learning at LSC-CyFair, go to CyFair.LoneStar.edu/servicelearning.