Austin Community College's (ACC) Office of Student Life is the 2019 recipient of the Higher Education Community Impact Award - Community College — a Texas Governor's Volunteer Award.
The awards — presented by the OneStar Foundation and Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott — honor the exemplary service of 10 individuals, groups, and organizations that have made a significant and measurable contribution to their communities through service and volunteering.
ACC was selected because of the wide variety of student leadership, campus engagement, and experiential learning opportunities Student Life provides.
"Each program incorporates an aspect of service to reinforce learning outcomes and to encourage students to begin a lifetime of volunteering," said the OneStar Foundation in a statement.
Among the many contributions of the Office of Student Life, the foundation highlighted its work to launch the ACC Food Pantry and Resources Program, established in fall 2018. The food pantries, operated by student volunteers, are available on all 11 ACC campuses and provide education, aid, and referrals to resources regarding food insecurity as well as student health.
"Supporting our students and helping them achieve their academic and career goals goes beyond the classroom," says Dr. Willie Martinez, interim vice president of Student Affairs. "We have to look at, and address, all of the challenges our students face whether academic, financial, or personal. The food pantries have been impactful. We're honored to be recognized among the top volunteer initiatives happening statewide."
In 2018-19, the college distributed 71,402 meals to 1,395 households through the food pantries. Services will expand in fall 2019 to include additional campus and community resources.
"Texans are generous by nature," said Mrs. Abbott in a written statement. "I am so honored to celebrate the amazing generosity of these ten outstanding awardees. By selflessly giving of their hearts and hands, their time and treasure, they have helped to make the future of Texas even brighter."
OneStar Foundation was created to support the State of Texas by strengthening the nonprofit sector, encouraging civic engagement through service and volunteering, promoting innovative strategies to address local issues, and facilitating public-private partnerships to expand the reach of the sector.
Governor's Volunteer Award winners will be honored in the fall at an evening reception at the Texas Governor's Mansion.