High Point University (HPU) is one of just 40 colleges and universities in the United States to be honored with the “2024 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement” – an elective and voluntary designation that highlights “an institution’s commitment to community engagement.”

The designation is awarded by the American Council on Education along with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

This is the first time HPU has received the honor, which is awarded to higher education institutions that are “making significant strides in finding ways to engage with community partners, build on community assets and address a wide array of community challenges.”

HPU prides itself as much as any other university in the state on being an active contributor to the community where it resides.  The students, faculty and staff are notorious for coming up with and implementing programs throughout the year meant to benefit people in the High Point area – especially those who are less fortunate.

Allison Walker, the director of Service Learning and instructor of English at HPU, said the school’s dedication to the local community was one big reason for the recognition.

“This Carnegie classification honors the sustained and reciprocal partnerships HPU’s Service Learning program has forged over more than a decade of service within the High Point community,” she stated in a press release. “What began as a few service learning classes in a few departments has blossomed into service opportunities across the university, from undergraduate to graduate curricular and co-curricular programs, and HPU’s Center for Community Engagement that champions the university’s enduring empathic connections both within and beyond our campus.”

HPU students, faculty and staff volunteer roughly a half million hours of service every year.

Their efforts include a wide variety of initiatives.  To name a few, there’s an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, programs donating thousands of pounds of food to area pantries and shelters, and efforts that provide free health care services – such as dental checkups, health assessments, and physical therapy –at High Point University’s Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic.

Also, the HPU Center for Community Engagement runs numerous programs, such as the 50 Bonner Leaders and 16 AmeriCorps VISTAs, that are all dedicated to helping nonprofits in the community.

Brad Bowers, the executive director of West End Ministries, said he’s very grateful for the support of the HPU staff and students.

“It shows that our young people believe in this community; they believe in what we’re doing and they’re here to serve,” Bowers said. “That is a tremendous thing to witness, and it’s an inspiration to us all to see those students get behind us.”

The classification that HPU earned is valid until 2032.