The 290 graduating Buckley Public Service Scholars at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill today (May 11) will be recognized for their achievements at a ceremony in Memorial Hall. Each will receive a Carolina blue and white cord to wear at Commencement on Sunday (May 13).
The Buckley Public Service Scholars program, part of the Carolina Center for Public Service, supports and strengthens Carolina students’ commitment to service, connects them to others who care about similar issues and guides them through training and course work that make their service more effective. Launched in 2003, the program continues to grow, with 9.7 percent of Carolina undergraduates currently enrolled as participants. In 2011, the Carolina Center for Public Service announced the establishment of the Walter White Buckley Jr. Endowment, a gift from an anonymous donor that will fund the program for years to come.
Buckley Public Service Scholar participants must have a minimum grade-point average, complete at least 300 hours of service, take one service-learning course and attend four skills-training workshops. Most of this year’s graduates exceeded those requirements, on average completing more than 491 hours of service. Twenty students reported more than 1,000 hours each, and two students recorded more than 2,000. These students join the 1,157 scholars who have graduated since 2003.
“The opportunities UNC offers students to make a difference in the community are limitless. From building houses to organizing blood drives, UNC provides the tools needed to begin making a difference in the world,” said Heather Hofmann, a scholar from Greensboro. “Thanks to the Buckley Public Service Scholars program, we were encouraged to pursue various [service] paths, not only to realize how a single individual can benefit an entire community, but to discover how passion to serve can transform our outlook on life.”
This year, more than 1,700 Carolina students have actively participated in the program, reporting service with more than 1,000 organizations. Students served with community partners like the Campus Y, Relay For Life, Global Medical Brigades, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Nourish International.
Since the program’s inception in 2003, more than 3,887students have participated, contributing 996,924 hours of service. The 2012 graduating class of Buckley Public Service Scholars reported 135,944 hours of service as of April 2012. Of those hours, 71 percent were served in North Carolina, 11 percent in other states and 18 percent internationally.
“These students have dedicated themselves to building their skills while making a difference for others during their time at Carolina, and we congratulate them,” said Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service.
The center offers a variety of programs that support public service and engagement, providing students, faculty and staff many ways to explore service opportunities, learn new skills and link their academic endeavors to making a difference in the community.