Saint Peter’s University Nationally Recognized for Community Engagement

Jersey City, N.J. – January 7, 2015 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that it has earned the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Carnegie Classification has been the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education. Saint Peter’s is one of just 361 institutions in the country that holds the Community Engagement Classification and one of 10 in the state of New Jersey.

“As a Jesuit university, community service and civic engagement are at the heart of Saint Peter’s mission,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “We are extremely proud of the ongoing commitment of our students, faculty and staff to community engagement and we are honored to be recognized in this category by an esteemed organization such as the Carnegie Foundation.”

Colleges and universities with an institutional focus on community engagement are invited to apply for the Community Engagement Classification. Community engagement is defined by the Carnegie Foundation as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”  According to the Carnegie Foundation, Saint Peter’s was awarded this classification due to the University’s excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy community engagement. The classification is valid until 2025.

“The importance of this elective classification is borne out by the response of so many campuses that have demonstrated their deep engagement with local, regional, national and global communities,” said John Saltmarsh, director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. “These are campuses that are improving teaching and learning, producing research that makes a difference in communities, and revitalizing their civic and academic missions.”

Community engagement at Saint Peter’s University exists in the curricular and extracurricular programs, as well as in the institution’s external relations. Community engagement includes service learning, community-based learning, civic engagement and community service.

In the most recent application for the community engagement application, Saint Peter’s University reported that more than 50 organizations and agencies were served through  community engagement projects; 48 children were mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters; five sites were rehabilitated through the Rebuilding Together project; 1,600 pounds of garbage were collected off local streets; 140 high school and middle school students and their families benefited from projects designed to improve readiness for, and access to, college; 300 elementary students were provided with health education through wellness program initiatives of the Health & Physical Education program; the local food bank received 1000 bagged lunches; nearly 3,000 meals were served through the Saint Peter’s University Campus Kitchen; and 190 students provided services to 50 non-profit and governmental agencies through internships.

In 2011, the University established the Center for Global Learning, which manages study abroad and exchange programs, facilitates the development of faculty-led international course and expands international student enrollment. In order to promote civic engagement, the University has expanded the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership, which houses the Model United Nations program, the Gannon Debate Team and the visiting Ambassadors’ Colloquium. Saint Peter’s is also one of fewer than 30 colleges nationwide to enjoy Non-Governmental status (NGO) at the United Nations.

The University actively seeks to expand its partnerships in Jersey City and the surrounding community to build collaborations and mutually beneficial relationships. Saint Peter’s has developed new relationships with the city, county and state as well as with private organizations such as Rising Tide Capital.

Through the Title V program, Saint Peter’s has expanded its community-based research. Courses within the program require that students move beyond the classroom setting and become involved in community-based research in areas ranging from biology to sociology and urban studies.

To learn more about the Community Engagement Classification or to view the complete list of institutions that hold the classification, please click here.

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Saint Peter’s University, inspired by its Jesuit, Catholic identity, commitment to individual attention and grounding in the liberal arts, educates a diverse community of learners in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional programs to excel intellectually, lead ethically, serve compassionately and promote justice in our ever-changing urban and global environment. To learn more, please visit


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