For The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — With more than 83,000 volunteer hours logged by St. Ambrose University students last year, this year’s new students have some big shoes to fill.
For the first time, the university has earned the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for 2014. Previously the university was listed on five President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Rolls.
Next month St. Ambrose will welcome another first-year class of students to campus. They will try to match the 83,306 hours earned for 2014.
“Service to the community is simply a part of who we are as a university,” said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, president of St. Ambrose. “We are proud of our students as they fulfill the St. Ambrose mission of ‘enriching lives.’”
Father Chuck Adam, campus minister, said, “It causes me to feel great pride in our students and a sense of hope for the future of our society when I witness such generosity of time and talent.
“At St. Ambrose we aim to instill in our students a sense of responsibility for service to others. The culture of service at St. Ambrose begins on the first full day after students arrive on campus as we conduct the annual Urban Plunge with first-year students. I feel a sense of accomplishment in knowing that culture is taking root in our students as the number of service hours grows steadily year by year,” Fr. Adam added.
“Service often enables students to discover their unique talents and even their vocation in life. Mahatma Gandhi said it so well when he advised, ‘if you want to find yourself, lose yourself in the service of others.’”
St. Ambrose students engaged in a wide range of service projects and activities to earn the volunteer distinction for their school. At the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year, 580 first-year and transfer students volunteered 1,160 hours of simultaneous service across the Quad Cites during “Urban Plunge,” an annual project aimed at introducing new Ambrosians to the university’s culture of service. In addition, St. Ambrose student-athletes volunteered nearly 8,000 hours.
Volunteers tutored children, gathered mobility equipment for the poor and worked 1,740 hours on 12 Habitat for Humanity builds. They also helped 100 neighborhood households with 550 students volunteering 1,925 hours during SAU’s 9th annual Bee the Difference Day. SAU Dance Marathon students worked 17,562 hours to raise $175,103 for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Fall, winter and spring breaks were spent in service in the Quad Cities, Chicago, Detroit, East St. Louis, Kentucky and Cleveland, for a total of 1,610 hours.