August 30, 2006

Colleges with a Conscience

As thousands of college students pack up their belongings and head back to their dorms for a new school year, what are some of the things they can look forward to this year? I am sure many of them are eager to see improvements made to their campuses over the summer or new technology offerings in their classrooms and definitely new and old friends. But another trend on the radar of students, families and academics is the extent to which students are looking forward to the service opportunities they will find on their campuses.

Record numbers of college students are engaged in civic life through voluteering, organizing and political activity. Colleges and universities have long been hubs for active and engaged citizens determined to make a contribution to their communities. Over the past two decades, these institutions of higher education have refocused on their civic mission by pioneering new strategies for creating more engaged citizens. Colleges are looking for more and unique ways to appeal to this interest among students. An expanded number of service-learning courses are being offered, better equipped offices of community service are opening, and some schools are even establishing service-learning communities in their dorms.

Service-learning and civic engagement opportunities have even become a factor for students to select their prospect schools. Recognizing this, the Princeton Review-most noted for their ranking of schools each year-published a book entitile Colleges with a Conscience. This book helps students research and select schools based on their committment to public service.

To identify the schools Princeton Review partnered with Campus Compact. Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 900 college and university presidents committed to supporting the public purposes of higher education. Through publications, training, networking, and resources provided through a national office and thirty state offices, Campus Compact helps schools that are committed to social responsibility improve the practice of civic engagement on their campuses. Campus Compact helps students have a meaningful experience once they get into college. All the schools profiled in this book are members of Campus Compact. Membership in Campus Compact shows a commitment to making community and public service part of campus life. To find out more about Campus Compact, including a complete list of member schools, see the Campus Compact website at www.compact.org.

For a listing of schools and more information about this study please go to http://www.princetonreview.com/college/research/conscience/

~Jessica Bynoe, National Coordinator, Youth Innovation Fund

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