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Union’s community service efforts draw national attention

Junior Mattie Trautman visits with residents at the Jackson Oaks Senior Living Community last fall on Union's annual Campus and Community day. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Junior Mattie Trautman visits with residents at the Jackson Oaks Senior Living Community last fall on Union's annual Campus and Community day. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.March 22, 2007 – Union University has received national recognition for its commitment to community service.

Union was one of 492 colleges and universities across the country to be named to the first President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The award recognizes the contributions of higher education institutions to their local communities through volunteer service.

The initiative is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

“Union University’s inclusion on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll demonstrates its commitment to the civic engagement mission of higher education and the role that its faculty, staff and students play in building healthy and happy communities,” said Amy Cohen, director of Learn and Serve America at the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Union University exemplifies the values that Learn and Serve America is working with colleges and universities across the nation to bring to life on their campuses and in their communities.”

Union President David S. Dockery said the award was a high honor for the university.

“We receive this recognition with deep thanksgiving for an outstanding group of students who are committed to serving others,” Dockery said. “We salute the trustees, faculty and staff for their examples of community involvement and for their encouragement to the entire Union family to give of themselves for the good of others.”

Union University serves the community in many ways throughout the year. Its largest event is the annual “Campus and Community: A Day of Remembrance and Service,” in which the university sends out more than 50 teams across Jackson and West Tennessee for various service projects.

The event is an opportunity for Union to show its appreciation to the community for its assistance after a tornado hit the campus Nov. 10, 2002, causing more than $2 million in damage.

Union also participates in local service projects every year on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and the university sends out more than 20 Global Opportunities teams annually. These GO teams participate in mission trips across the country and around the world. This year, GO teams will serve in such places as Boston, Mass.; Providence, R.I.; Nashville, Tenn.; Norman, Okla.; Guatemala, Romania, Germany and several other locations.

Madison County Mayor Jerry Gist praised Union for its service to the community in many ways – including the way Union students provide services for the local government by researching various topics for government officials. Union students also are involved in tutoring local elementary and high school students and in various service projects with non-profit organizations across the community.

“Union University is a major factor in the fabric of our community and is deeply involved in the community, which makes it the great university that it is,” Gist said.

Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer echoed Gist’s sentiments.

“It would be hard to imagine what our city would be like without Union University,” Farmer said. “In addition to providing a large employment base, huge spending power from Union students in our retail establishments, a beautiful campus and quality cultural and athletic events, Union enriches Jackson with a religious and academic fervor that permeates the fabric of our community in many, many ways.”

Other Tennessee institutions on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll were East Tennessee State University, Lee University, Maryville College, Rhodes College, Tennessee Tech University, Tusculum College and the University of Memphis.


Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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