Helping to build affordable housing in Morris Township
Helping to build affordable housing in Morris Township

Students recognized for 81,574 hours of community work.

September 2017 – It’s a big number for a small school: 81,574.

That’s how many community service and volunteer hours that Drew University students collectively worked during the 2015-16 academic year. And the impressive tally explains why Drew is being recognized for producing the most altruistic students in New Jersey.

Using information compiled about community service for rankings in Washington Monthly, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur identified the most altruistic student body in each state and bestowed upon their schools the designation of Pillars of Academia. Drew is the Pillar for New Jersey, joining the likes of Loyola University for Illinois, Vanderbilt University for Tennessee, Washington University for Missouri and Texas A&M for Texas.

The list is the brainchild of Garrett Dunham, whose company Pillrs (without the a), developed an app that enables volunteers to help others. “Our company is about helping people to help people and we like to put the focus on the Good Samaritans and cultivating them,” Dunham explained.

Community service has long been a hallmark of a Drew education. There are several institutional guides in place to help students become involved, including the Civic Scholars program and community-based learning initiatives, where work with partners such as non-profits and local government is integrated into courses, according to Amy Koritz, director of Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement. Students are involved in a wide array of social issues, Koritz added.

In addition, Drew recently added a certificate in civic engagement and launched a Freedom Schools initiative that—through workshops—helps students advocate around social justice issues by training them in non-violent resistance and community organizing.