Food, Farm, and Sustainability Director Beth Hooker and Dean of Students Byron McCrae traveled to Washington DC this past week to accept a Higher Education Civic Engagement award presented by the Washington Center and New York Life Foundation. Hampshire was selected from a pool of 100 nominations for innovations in civic engagement around the Sustainability Initiative, specifically the Healthy Food Transition.
“Community engagement is an important part of the Hampshire College education, assisting tomorrow’s leaders in developing the skills necessary to put their ideas into action. To be recognized for these efforts is particularly meaningful,” said Hampshire President Jonathan Lash.
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 annual award aims to highlight, in particular, innovation and leadership in forging partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.
At Hampshire College, commitment to civic and community engagement and social responsibility is a founding principle. Every student is challenged through a 40-hour minimum community engagement and learning requirement to seek innovative ways to address critical needs as defined by communities on and off campus. Hampshire’s Sustainability Initiative connects learning and engagement to efforts to serve healthy, locally produced food on campus. Hampshire’s Farm Center is a growing collaborative hub for members of the agricultural community and the Five College consortium in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts to explore sustainable systems for local food sourcing.
“Hampshire College is a shining example of how colleges 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. “Hampshire is a true leader within the academic community and we congratulate them on this honor.”
You can watch President Lash’s acceptance speech below: