DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College, Iowa’s first college, is among 21 college and university members of Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) working to fill Iowa’s civic skills gap by helping students build these skills through community experiences.
“Community experiences helped develop my ability to frame and solve problems, to manage projects independently, to communicate effectively, to work with groups of diverse people, and to celebrate the contributions of people at all levels of the organization,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, said.
In addition to building civic skills, community experiences can also contribute to closing gaps in workforce skills. Three in four employers said in a recent survey that they want colleges to place more emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings and 92 percent said volunteering expands an employee’s professional skill set.
The new “Giving Voice to the Civic Mission” campaign will seek to elevate the public understanding of how quality, hands-on experiences shape students into effective leaders. Throughout the campaign, participating schools will share stories of how volunteer projects, service-learning courses, alternative break trips, nonprofit internships, and a range of other opportunities leverage real-world experience while contributing to community needs.
“It is our goal that this information will help parents and students take advantage of skill-building community experiences, assist employers seeking candidates who have had these experiences, and encourage community leaders to support the partnerships needed to make more of these experiences a reality,” Collins said.
Loras students’ commitment to serving others has earned Loras a place on the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for Community Service since 2008, the highest such federal recognition an institution of higher education can receive, “with distinction” since 2009. It’s not uncommon for students to perform nearly 90,000 hours or more of service during the academic year.
How to get involved
- Students and alumni: Share your stories of building skills through community experiences.
- Employers: Get new resources and ideas on seeking and building these skills in employees.
- Parents and students: Find out how to engage in these experiences.
- Nonprofits and community leaders: Find new ideas and connections with colleges and universities to create more of these skill-based opportunities.
Learn more about this initiative at iacampuscompact.org/giving-voice.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.