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Cowen Service Challenge: I want to be in that number!

September 5, 2013 11:00 AM

New Wave staff

Tulane University students, faculty and staff members, alumni and friends of the university are being asked to donate 750,000 hours of community service as a tribute to Tulane President Scott Cowen when he steps down after 16 years at the helm of the university.

“Tulane students already log 430,000 hours of community service each year. With the help of faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Tulane we want to measurably increase that,” says Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service. “This will be the ultimate parting gift to someone who has inspired so many to commit to public service.”

Tulane has been tracking its students’ community service hours since Hurricane Katrina, when it became the first and only major research university in the country to make public service a curriculum requirement for all undergraduates.
This new initiative, the Cowen Service Challenge, will extend that effort by recording the number of service hours donated by Tulane affiliates.

Cowen Service Challenge hours can include volunteering at any nonprofit, community, school, faith-based or civic organization — and can be done anywhere.

Service hours will be counted from August 2013 through May 2, 2014. Faculty, staff members, alumni and friends are being encouraged to register now and begin logging their service hours.

“This is a universitywide initiative,” Ilustre says. “There is an advisory committee whose members will become ‘champions’ of public service. We want everyone to take ownership of this.”

While the Center for Public Service will keep track of students’ service-learning hours associated with the graduation requirement, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Tulane can use the website to register hours they volunteer on their own.

“We know 750,000 is achievable, but we actually think the Tulane community can complete 1 million hours of service,” Ilustre says.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000