|By Joanna Klimaski Mercuri
Somewhere among the millions of hours devoted to academics and extracurricular activities, Fordham students volunteered for nearly 1.2 million hours of community service in just one academic year.
“You would be astounded by the flame of faith that is alive at Fordham,” Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn, vice president of University mission and ministry, said about a recent report detailing Fordham’s community service contributions for the 2012-2013 academic year.
The stellar numbers landed Fordham on the Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service, an initiative by the Corporation for National and Community Service to highlight the role colleges and universities play in solving community problems. Launched in 2006, the Honor Roll recognizes institutions of higher education for:
• general community service;
• interfaith community service;
• impact on increasing economic opportunity in communities; and
• impact on improving educational outcomes in communities.
“We live in a society that highlights the importance of community service, so today’s generation sees that as part of their responsibility,” Msgr. Quinn said. “When our students start their time at Fordham through programs such as Urban Plunge, they are introduced to the needs of their neighborhood. We then continue to underscore the call to respond to our neighbors’ needs.”
More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students contributed to the 1,185,420 hours by volunteering with low-income and marginalized communities both nationally and internationally. In addition to volunteering through established venues such as the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice and service learning courses connected with their academic work, Fordham students seek out opportunities whenever a need arises, said Msgr. Quinn. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, for instance, more than 630 students spent 5,000 hours volunteering in relief efforts.
The 2012-2013 results represent a 44 percent increase in the number of students who participated in service compared to 2010-2011.
“The ultimate thrust of the Fordham mission is transformation of lives. This expression of selfless generosity is proof positive that lives are being transformed,” Msgr. Quinn said. “They are discovering true wisdom and the lessons that come from being of service to others.”