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Award fetes university for service

The B Street permaculture project and Alternative Break are examples

Forest Grove's Pacific University has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the first time since the initiative began in 2006.

The honor roll recognizes higher education institutions that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes for their communities.

Pacific is one of nine colleges or universities in Oregon, and 641 junior or senior colleges nationally, to be named to the honor roll.

The program places a strong emphasis on long-term institutional support of community service, with special consideration of how service results in measurable improvement in a community.

During the 2009-10 academic year, 506 Pacific students engaged in academic service learning, and an additional 1,076 students engaged in a variety of community service activities, resulting in a total of 150,226 community service hours.

Ellen Hastay, director of Pacific's Center for Civic Engagement, said the listing reflects community service as a core value of the University.

'The many Pacific faculty and administrators who support civic engagement here do so because they are not only committed to furthering the common good, but also because they realize the educational benefits community service affords students in their development,' she said.

New undergraduate students are immersed in the culture during their first week on the Forest Grove campus. Since 1999, the College of Arts and Sciences' fall semester orientation has included a Sprucing Up The Grove day of service, in which new students clean up city streets and parks, touch up area schools and help the elderly throughout the city.

Additionally, co-curricular student-led projects such as the Alternative Break program and B Street Permaculture Project address hunger and homelessness issues and environmental sustainability, respectively.

During Alternative Break, groups of students spend their fall or spring breaks traveling to cities such as San Francisco to work with food shelters and other agencies.

The B Street Permaculture Project is where students maintain gardens through sustainable practices to harvest produce for local food banks and university dining services.

'Our partnerships within the local community have resulted in more highly motivated and educated school children, better-served clients at social service agencies, improved literacy for Latino adults and a cleaner environment and strengthened local food system,' Hastay said.