Cadet 3rd Class Jamaal Paul starts his spring break by loading boards at the Habitat for Humanity warehouse in Victoria, Texas, to be shipped to a nearby job site. Cadet Paul is assigned to Cadet Squadron 07. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)
Cadet 3rd Class Courtney Pinkerton (front) and Cadet 2nd Class Bridget Flatley pass boards along a human conveyor belt from a shipping vehicle to a house as part of a Habitat for Humanity project in Victoria, Texas, March 22, 2010. The project is one of several undertaken by cadets as part of Alternative Spring Break. The cadets are assigned to Cadet Squadron 37. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)
Cadets from the Air Force Academy lift the west wall of a home during a Habitat for Humanity project in Victoria, Texas, March 22, 2010. Cadets volunteered for the project as part of the Academy's Alternative Spring Break program. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)
Cadet 4th Class Karlie Taylor uses a nail gun to secure a house's west wall to the floor frame as part of a Habitat for Humanity project in Victoria, Texas, March 22, 2010. Cadet Taylor, who is assigned to Cadet Squadron 21, volunteered for the project as part of the Air Force Academy's Alternative Spring Break program. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Van Winkle)
by John Van Winkle
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
3/23/2010 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Cadets volunteered more than 36,000 hours of community service on more than 2,200 projects during the 2008-2009 academic year, earning the U.S. Air Force Academy a slot on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by The Corporation for National and Community Service.
The Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.
Community Service and the concept of Service Learning are part of the Academy's efforts to offer cadet character development programs, which emphasize one of the Academy's central core values, "Service Before Self." The Cadet Service Learning program attempts to take this core value from the theoretical concepts of the classroom to actual experiences with the goal of internalized lifelong "volunteer ethic" and understanding of the value of serving others, particularly in the area of community service.
The cadets' community service efforts continue this week with the Academy's Alternative Spring Break program, as 63 cadets have chosen to spend their spring breaks building homes for needy families in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Texas towns of El Paso, Victoria, College Station and Wichita Falls, through Habitat for Humanity.
"Our nation's students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face," said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation's Chief Executive Officer. "They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service."
Overall, the Corporation honored six schools with Presidential Awards. In addition, 115 were named as Honor Roll with Distinction members and 621 schools as Honor Roll members, including the Air Force Academy and three more universities in Colorado. A full list is available at: www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.
Historically, the Academy's 4,000-plus cadets have performed between and 20,000 and 40,000 hours of service learning projects during the course of an academic year.
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, college students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector and in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of community service.