Founded in 1991, the mission of the Public Service Center is to champion the conviction that the Cornell University experience confirms service as essential to active citizenship. To fulfill this mission, the Public Service Center has chosen service-learning as the educational philosophy to guide its programs. A service-learning approach enhances and reinforces academic learning with practical experiences, strengthens civic values and moral character, and responds to community needs. Service-learning fosters service to others, community development and empowerment, and reciprocal learning through participants' social and educational interactions.
Center volunteer projects, student organizations, school programs, and related service-learning courses work continually throughout the year to form community partnerships that exemplify the service-learning philosophy. We currently support over 50 service-learning courses. Professors and community partners who have collaborated on a service-learning course present papers on their projects at the annual faculty symposium; some attendees are from other local colleges. These papers are then published in our Working Papers Series, which has reached a circulation of over 300 faculty.
Further collaborative efforts have evolved with alumni groups and local elementary and secondary schools. The PSC works with various Cornell clubs in the northeast to organize service events, including student-alumni service events in Boston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Westchester, NY and reunion and homecoming service projects in Ithaca. Collaboration with pre-K-12 schools and community organizations occurs in a variety of ways, such as through the Raising Education Attainment Challenge (REACH), as well as Encouraging Young Engineer Students (EYES), and the Graduate Student Outreach Project (GSSOP). (See the Community Groups section for more information).
Several students affiliated with the Public Service Center have won awards in recognition of their community service. Neil Giacobbi '96, and Jamila Cutliff '99, and Gary Schueller '03 received the Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award in 1996 and 1998, respectively. In 1998, Natalie Bridgeman '99 was named Cornell's first recipient of the Michael Schwerener Activist Award. Natalie was also a recipient of the 1998 Morris K. Udall Scholarship. For more information on these awards and funding in general, visit our Resources section.
While our students receive awards, Center staff and students are involved in award giving-serving on committees that select programs to be recipients of seed money to help them get established. Their participation on various committees and on student organizations has helped fund programs focused on issues from women's and children's advocacy to education and literacy.
Throughout these pages you will be introduced to the exciting programs, projects, and people of the Cornell Public Service Center. To further explore our resources and services, we encourage you to visit our office in 200 Barnes Hall, talk to students and staff involved with the programs, then jump right in!