Rice recognized with civic engagement award in Washington

Rice University is one of five universities honored with a 2014 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award Sept. 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson (pictured fifth from right) accepts the 2014 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award on behalf of Rice University.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, established this award to celebrate institutions in the higher education community that are reaching beyond their own campuses to achieve sustainable civic impacts. The award aims to highlight innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

The award includes up to four $5,000 scholarships toward internships at The Washington Center.

Rice was recognized for the Community Bridges Program, which is part of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Center for Civic Leadership (CCL), and for the Houston Action Research Teams (HART), also part of the CCL.

Rice’s Community Bridges Program delivers on the university’s mission to contribute to the betterment of the world by targeting poverty in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Community Bridges fellows partner with a range of local nonprofit organizations to develop and implement long-term projects focused on sustainable reduction of poverty in this neighborhood. HARTs are small, interdisciplinary teams of Rice undergraduate students who work together with local community members and organizations to address issues facing Houston and its citizens. Partners have included several City of Houston offices, Houston Public Library, Houston METRO, Project Row Houses and the Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance.

“Rice University is a shining example of how universities are taking the traditional curriculum model and incorporating initiatives that teach self-awareness, community engagement and lifelong leadership skills,” said Mike Smith, president of The Washington Center. “Rice is a true leader within the academic community, and we congratulate them on this honor.”

“At Rice, we have merged civic engagement with leadership development,” said Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson, who accepted the award for Rice. “Our guiding principle is that to lead your community, you must understand your community. In a time of growing socio-economic disparity, we take our mission at Rice not to exacerbate the divide by privileging a few but rather to empower our students to narrow that divide with the strength of their leadership and civic engagement.”

California State University-Fullerton, Georgia College & State University, Hampshire College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga were also recognized. For more information on the awards, visit www.twc.edu/.

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.