|Participation, service hours climb for fifth graduating class of UNC Public Service Scholars|
|Friday, May 08, 2009|
The Public Service Scholars Class of 2009 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is larger (171) and averaged more hours of public service (504 hours per student) than the four classes that preceded it. The fifth graduating class of Public Service Scholars at Carolina will be honored tonight (May 8) at a special ceremony at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. All of the graduates will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at Sunday’s commencement to represent their achievement.
The Public Service Scholars program is more than recognition for students’ work; it provides a way for Carolina students to strengthen and maintain their commitment to service, connects them to others who care about similar issues and guides them to training and coursework that makes their service more effective. To graduate as a Public Service Scholar, students must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5, complete at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course and attend four skills-training workshops.
The 171 graduates honored as Public Service Scholars on Friday are students who not only met the program’s minimum requirements, they exceeded them – reporting service hours ranging from 300 to 1,900 hours (with 10 students reporting more than 1,000 hours each). As a group, they reported more than 86,000 hours of service at an average of 504 hours per student, the highest average for a scholars graduating class to date.
Friday evening’s ceremony speaks to the range and depth of work that is being done every day by students across the state and beyond. “Being a Public Service Scholar allowed me to find my niche at Carolina: incorporating service into what I was learning in the classroom and laying the foundation for a lifetime of public service,” said Kaila Ramsey, a scholar from Franklin who plans to join the Peace Corps after graduation. “My experiences through PSS uniquely shaped my undergraduate experience and helped prepare me to enter the public sector post-graduation. This program embodies the adage, ‘Service is a response to the privilege of education.’”
This year’s Public Service Scholar graduates have worked at UNC Hospitals, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, the Autism Society of North Carolina, Rainbow Soccer and the N.C. Museum of Art. They have also participated in international public service projects through World Camp for Kids, Carolina Microfinance Initiative and the Full Belly Project.
This year, more than 1,500 students participated in the Public Service Scholars program. Since the program’s inception in 2003, more than 2,800 students have participated, contributing almost 430,000 hours of service. Current participants represent more than 75 percent of the majors across campus and come from 84 out of 100 North Carolina counties, 39 other states plus Washington, D.C., and 14 other countries.
The Carolina Center for Public Service, created in 1997, engages and supports the faculty, students and staff at Carolina in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. The Center strengthens the University’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.
Note: More information about each Public Service Scholar graduate’s public service, major and post-graduation plans is available at http://www.unc.edu/cps.
Center Web site: http://www.unc.edu/cps