Princeton Review Names Pepperdine One of Nation's Top 10 Schools for Community Service

August 14, 2015  | 2 min read

Pepperdine University was ranked number 10 for "Students Most Engaged in Community Service" in Princeton Review's The Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition, reinforcing the University's mission of "Strengthening lives for purpose, service, and leadership." The distinction comes just one month before the University participates in its 27th annual Step Forward Day, when students, staff, faculty, and alumni from all Pepperdine schools engage in a day of service at over 75 community organizations across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Last year, approximately 1,375 volunteers participated.

"Pepperdine includes service in the mission of the university, so it is no surprise that our students are some of the most engaged in community service," says Peter Thompson, director of the Pepperdine Volunteer Center. "These are the types of students that come to Pepperdine, and our student leaders in the Volunteer Center have the opportunity to connect them with communities throughout Los Angeles and Ventura County. The unique location of Pepperdine means students gain experiences from Downtown Los Angeles and the homeless community on Skid Row to agricultural communities and farm worker rights in Ventura. 

The Pepperdine Volunteer Center leads initiatives that include weekly service, one-time events, and the scholarship of community engagement, or service-

learning. During the 2014-2015 school year 68% of Seaver College students engaged in service activities and devoted a total of 69,700 hours to serving organizations nationwide. Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program that serves pre-school children in low-income communities, saw 20,067 hours devoted to service by Pepperdine students. Since 1996, Pepperdine students have opted to skip traditional spring break activities for Project Serve, an opportunity to travel to communities in need around the world and experience the joy of serving others.

As part of the Pepperdine Volunteer Center and University mission, the University is also dedicated to providing service-learning opportunities to connect Pepperdine students to the community through academic course work. Between 2014 and 2015, 1,343 students enrolled in 81 service-learning courses, including a service-leadership capstone business course pairing student consulting teams with local nonprofits to meet business challenges and a program through the Seaver College art department pairing upper level painting students with special needs young adults at local schools to paint beautiful canvases ultimately displayed in a gallery opening on Pepperdine’s campus at the end of each semester.

For the ninth consecutive year, Pepperdine was also named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes institutions of higher education that support exemplary community service programs and raise the visibility of effective practices in campus community partnerships. The Honor Roll’s Presidential Award is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to community, service-learning, and civic engagement.

For the "Students Most Engaged in Community Service" ranking, Princeton Review surveyed 136,000 students at 380 schools nationwide about their campus experiences.