The University of San Francisco rose to the top once again in 2013, making the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll — an award that recognizes the university for helping to solve community problems and for placing students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.
About 7,800 USF students complete an estimated 323,000 community-service hours during the 2011-12 academic year, which is the basis of the 2013 honor roll. The university has been on the honor roll every year since it was established in 2006. This year USF was recognized "with distinction," putting the university in the top quartile of the 500 schools surveyed and among just a dozen to have earned the distinction three times.
"I think it's external validation for a quality that matters - service to society - and is both welcome and significant," said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. "That said, I think it's less about winning an honor and more about being true to our tradition that views academic quality and contributions to society as mutually reinforcing qualities of excellence. We do not do community service for the recognition but because it's who we are - it's in our DNA."
USFers worked with about 250 organizations ranging from the San Francisco Unified School District and San Francisco VA Medical Center to Habitat for Humanity, with some even traveling to Haiti to document and report on the chilling effects of government intimidation of Haitian journalists who have been critical of recovery operations after a devastating 2010 earthquake there. USFers served about 400,000 meals, tutored and/or mentored about 5,500 San Francisco school children, provided 3,000 health screenings to the needy, helped to build three community gardens, and provided free and reduced-cost legal services to homeowners facing foreclosure.
Highest federal recognition
The honor roll is published annually by the Corporation for National & Community Service and is the highest federal recognition a university or college can receive for strengthening community locally and internationally.