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Sept. 24, 2003 -- No. 497
Chancellor, students to speak at kickoff of Public Service Scholars Program
CHAPEL HILL -- A new program that honors University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students who perform community service work will hold an official kickoff Friday (Sept. 26) on the stairs of Wilson Library.
Chancellor James Moeser, Carolina Center for Public Service Director Lynn Blanchard and students will speak at the free public ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Students can learn about the program in time to sign up to participate this semester, via the Web, by the deadline at 5 p.m. Friday.
Light refreshments will be served; if it rains, the event will be inside Wilson in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room.
The Public Service Scholars Program began unofficially last semester but is now getting under way in earnest, said Chad Fogleman, who oversees the program for the public service center. Among its requirements are that students perform 300 hours of community service during their college careers. They also must complete two courses that combine service and learning, complete skills training in four different areas and maintain certain grade-point averages.
Upon graduation, students who have fulfilled the requirements receive notations on their transcripts of "special recognition in public service" or the higher mark of "Public Service Scholar." They receive a certificate of achievement and a letter from the Chancellor, and their names are listed in the commencement program.
Last semester, 42 participants performed 2,470 hours of community service, with eight of them logging 100 hours each, Fogleman said. Students worked in agencies and efforts including Habitat for Humanity, various tutoring programs, Big Buddy mentoring, UNC Hospitals and the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County, he said.
Now, 200 students have signed up for the program this semester; enrollment, open at the start of each semester, closes for fall 2003 at 5 p.m. Friday (Sept. 26).
"One thing students seem to like about this program is that it focuses on training and skills, so they know they are building their capabilities," Fogleman said. "They know they’re going to be developing themselves."
The skills training areas include effective communication, diversity and cultural awareness and organizational leadership. Students also have said they like meeting other students who value public service and community needs, as well as working toward a goal in a holistic, structured approach, Fogleman said.
He said the new program adds recognition for outstanding public service to Carolina’s numerous and longtime means of recognizing academic achievement. With public service high on the list of priorities for a public university, he said, "this is a statement of what we value."
The Carolina Center for Public Service, which oversees all such efforts at the university, received a $15,000 planning grant from Strowd Roses Inc., a Chapel Hill foundation, last year to begin the program. For more information, attend the event Friday, visit http://www.unc.edu/cps/scholars/ or call 843-7568.He He
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Contact: Lynn Blanchard, 843-7568; Chad Fogleman, 843-6993
News Services contact: L.J. Toler, 962-8589