NEW ORLEANS, LA – October 10, 2013 – Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) was one of five colleges and universities to receive the 2013 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award during an Oct. 7 luncheon at the
National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Center and the New York Life Foundation selected SUNO and the four other recipients from more than 100 nominations.
They were chosen based on their leadership and innovation in civic engagement. The grant that accompanies the award will send four SUNO students to Washington, D.C. during the summer of 2014 for a six-week internship in Congress. Each student also will receive a $5,000 stipend.
During the luncheon, Josephine Okoronkwo, director of SUNO’s Student Development Center, accepted the award on the University’s behalf. SUNO alumni Yvonne Green and Jackie Knightshade also attended the event.
“This award is for our students who continue to engage in civic engagement above and beyond the 60-hour community service graduation requirement,” Okoronkwo said. “The grant focuses on our efforts toward awareness campaigns on crime and violence. SUNO will continue to be the community’s university for fighting crime and violence.
“I hope the four students selected for the paid internship in Washington, D.C., will cherish this lifetime experience. I am pleased that SUNO was selected to receive this prestigious national award,” she added.
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established this award to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impacts. The award aims to highlight, in particular, innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.
SUNO establishes service as a core value in the institution’s mission of serving the educational and cultural needs of the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. As a part of its broad commitment to teaching resiliency, SUNO has partnered with law enforcement officials and community organizations to promote violence awareness, redoubling its efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Having made service learning a requirement in 1991, SUNO is a leader not only in educating its students, but also in engaging members of the community in making good and productive choices.
“Southern University at New Orleans is a shining example of how universities are taking the traditional curriculum model and incorporating initiatives that teach self-awareness, community engagement and life-long leadership skills,” said Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center. “SUNO is a true leader within the academic community and we congratulate them on this honor.”
This year’s award committee was chaired by Geri Mannion of Carnegie Corporation and included Doug Wood of the Forbes Foundation, Robert Hackett of the Bonner Foundation, Heather Smith of Rock the Vote and Peter Levine of CIRCLE at Tufts University.
The other academic institutions that received the 2013 Civic Engagement Award include The Citadel, California State University at Monterey Bay, Portland State University and Syracuse University.