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University of Iowa News Release


June 16, 2010

Photo: Dance Marathon, February, 2010

Iowa college students rank second in the nation in volunteerism

dancemarathonThe University of Iowa has helped Iowa become second in the nation in volunteerism. According to a report released Tuesday by Volunteering in America, Iowa college students rank second in the nation in volunteering within the college student demographic, up from 32nd in 2006, with 41 percent of college students volunteering their time in 2009.

As a state, Iowa has the second-highest volunteer rate in the country with 38.7 percent of its residents volunteering their time in 2009, surpassing its fifth-place ranking from the year before. Iowa City has the second highest volunteer rate nationally for cities of its size, with 50 percent of residents volunteering.

Iowa’s high percentage is due in part to the 92 college students enrolled in the Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps program. Each participant provides hundreds of hours of volunteer service across Iowa helping meet local community needs. Participants also can earn up to $1,000 toward tuition by recruiting 10 additional volunteers each during their period of service. This year, 16 UI students participated in the program, receiving a total of $14,306 in education awards.

Additionally, the Iowa Campus Compact has 23 full-time AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) participants and 10 VISTA Summer Associates working to increase service-learning, mobilize volunteers and strengthen local communities throughout Iowa.

gormanAt the UI, AmeriCorps VISTA worker Erin Gorman (left) worked with the UI's Civic Engagement Program and Office of Student Life to strengthen students' commitment to citizenship, helping with several projects. Those projects included Saturdays in Service, which involved more than 400 students in various volunteer activities, as well as Operation Backpack, Kids Against Hunger, and the Hunger Banquet. stuberVISTA worker Nick Stuber (right) worked with the UI Center for Human Rights to support its mission of promoting and protecting human rights at home and abroad.

The UI has several other strong indicators of volunteerism, including:

--The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, when 140 student, faculty, and staff volunteers worked at 15 service sites in January 2010.
--Make a Difference Day, when nearly 100 volunteers, mostly students, participated for an Iowa River cleanup project in October 2009.
--Other UI volunteer groups and activities, which are scheduled to receive Governor's Volunteer Awards for their service, include Dance Marathon, which this year netted a $1 million, two-year gift commitment to the UI Children's Hospital to support research into pediatric cancer and blood disorders; UI Hospitals and Clinics' Caring Clowns; and the Oakdale Community Choir, led by UI assistant professor of music education Mary Cohen. Several individuals, including Gorman, will also receive Governor's Volunteer Awards.

"The University of Iowa prepares students to be leaders in their communities and their volunteerism as students is just one indicator of the great leaders they will become," UI Interim Vice President for Student Services Tom Rocklin said.

The UI is one of 21 member institutions in the Iowa Campus Compact, and UI President Sally Mason serves on its executive committee. More information is available at The National Campus Compact is a coalition of more than 1,100 colleges and universities committed to fostering in students the values and skills of civic engagement. In the past five years, member schools have reported a 60 percent increase in service participation.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of this year’s ranking,” said Rachel Manuel, executive director of Iowa Campus Compact. “As the only higher education association dedicated to campus-based civic engagement, our member campuses are improving community life, while also educating its students for civic and social responsibility through service-learning, community service and civic engagement initiatives.”

For more information on the UI Civic Engagement Program, see

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Mary Mathew Wilson, Civic Engagement Program, 319-335-7589; George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services, 319-384-0012,