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WMU students win national community service award

Jan. 18, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Members of the American Humanics Student Association at Western Michigan University recently won a national award from American Humanics, besting similar organizations from 75 campuses across the country that competed.

The 2007 American Humanics Community Service and Volunteerism Award was presented on Jan. 5 at the American Humanics Management Institute in Kansas City. Nineteen WMU students traveled to Kansas City for the annual meeting.

WMU students won this award for their extensive community service and volunteerism at a long list of local organizations. Last year students volunteered as a group at Generous Hands, Gryphon Place and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The group project for Generous Hands was researching grant possibilities and creating a booklet of foundations, contact information, types of grants funded and how to apply. Individually students volunteered at Kalamazoo Deacon's Conference, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Western Student Association, Gryphon Place, Campus Activity Board, Ministry with Community, Planned Parenthood, American Cancer Society, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Log Cabin Quilters, Women's Education Coalition, Kalamazoo Student Housing Cooperative, Drive Safe Kalamazoo, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Peace Jam.

Their hours in the 2006-07 academic year added up to 2,600 hours of individual time, not counting internships, and 680 hours of group, or AHSA, time.

American Humanics is a national alliance that brings nonprofits, universities and community partners together to educate, prepare and certify professionals to strengthen and lead nonprofit organizations.

WMU's School of Public Affairs and Administration offers a certification from American Humanics, an undergraduate minor in nonprofit leadership, as well as nonprofit concentration in the masters of public administration program. The award was given to the American Humanics Student Association, which includes students from all of WMU's nonprofit programs. To date WMU has certified 56 students who are working at foundations, United Ways, hospitals, food banks, missions and youth organizations.

To be certified by the American Humanics national office, students must take three courses, do a 300-hour internship in a nonprofit organization, be active in the student association and attend the three-day American Humanics Management Institute. At the conference, students work through case studies, attend workshops and seminars, network with nonprofit leaders, connect with participating AHSA groups from all over the United States and listen to inspiring keynote speakers that are actively involved in the nonprofit sector.

American Humanics is the only national organization addressing the growing need for dedicated and experienced entry-level professional employees to manage programs and eventually lead and manage nonprofit organizations.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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