The Daily Gamecock

University recognized for service

National honor awarded for giving back to community.

The University of South Carolina made the cut for the annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction — the only college in the state to do so.

Despite the slow process of creating the list, this is the fourth consecutive time that USC has made the honor roll.

“This recognition reflects our university’s deep commitment to service and to instilling a spirit of giving amongst members of the community,” McMahon said. “Gamecocks give back!”

People at USC have certainly been giving back. According to USC’s Community Service

Annual Report for 2009-10, 23,436 students, faculty and staff volunteered in hands-on community service, philanthropic fundraising, community-based research, service learning and advocacy initiatives.

These efforts accumulated to 346,678 service hours to the community, having an estimated economic impact of $7,041,994, according to the report.

McMahon said that this award was due to the collaborative nature of the school’s service work.

“Service applies to everyone, and the opportunity to learn more about yourself while learning about the surrounding community and its needs is universal,” she said. “In this way, our students are becoming community leaders with the simple step of contributing back to it.”

Students have been volunteering through various means. They have taken part in America Reads, Service Saturdays, Carolina Cares and other organizations. Their reach expands beyond the local community and can be seen throughout the country and abroad in countries such as Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico.

Relay for Life and Dance Marathon, some of the more popular fundraising activities on campus, continue to have large turnouts of participants each year.

Relay for Life had 1,400 students participating with faculty and staff raising $92,000 in 2010 while Dance Marathon had 1,200 student participants, according to the annual report.

“We are the largest student-run philanthropy in the state,” said fourth-year marketing and management student Colleen White, the director of Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon participants raised $147,425 in donations to benefit the patients of Children’s Miracle Network at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.

White said she thinks the campus has a lot of outlets for community service.

“It starts with freshman year and with University 101,” she said. “If students are passionate about it, they continue to do it for the next four years.”

As well as participating in annual fundraisers like Dance Marathon and Relay for Life, students also organized and participated in relief initiatives like Gamecocks Helping Tuscaloosa and Gamecocks Helping Japan. The application representing the data of these and other service initiatives from the 2010-11 will be submitted in October, McMahon said.