BGSU employee receives recognition from President Joe Biden for community service

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green State University employee was recently recognized by President Joe Biden for her dedication to community service, which is exemplified through her role at the University.

Christina Igl, a BGSU Honors Learning Community coordinator who is also taking graduate classes for professional development, earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award’s lifetime achievement for service, recognizing her completion of more than 4,000 service hours. She received a certificate and letter signed by Biden along with a medal and pin.

“Community service has always been part of my life, and it’s always been something I valued,” Igl said. “I hope students will see this and be inspired to get involved in their communities. I want them to understand the numerous benefits of civic engagement and how impactful it is to the communities they serve.”

The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award in 2003 to recognize the important role of volunteers in America. The President’s Volunteer Service Award has continued under each administration, honoring volunteers who are working to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges.

To celebrate Igl’s distinguished achievement, BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers presented the award to her.

“We are honored to have a member of our learning community be recognized with this national award – but even more importantly, we are incredibly proud of Christina’s thousands of hours of community service,” Rogers said. “As a public university for the public good, service is an important part of our work in positively impacting our region, state, nation and world. Christina exemplifies this in her dedication to creating good through action and she continues to make a difference on our campus in her work with our students.”

Certifying organization

BGSU became a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2022 and verifies eligibility requirements are met.

All BGSU students, faculty and staff who are U.S. citizens are eligible for the award.

The minimum requirement for eligibility is completing 100 hours of service in a year. Service hours can be tracked in BGSUserves, the University’s online platform for finding, creating and managing volunteer activities.

Dr. V Rosser, director of civic engagement in the C. Raymond Marvin Center for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, said the accessibility and prestige of the award are among its most appealing features.

“We have students who are serving in the community every week, and this award creates a pathway for a much broader set of students to be celebrated for their commitment to service,” Rosser said. “This provides visibility of a student’s dedication to volunteering and contribution to the public good.”

Legacy of service

Many of the 4,000 service hours Igl logged were achieved during her time in AmeriCorps, a federal agency for national service and volunteerism that provides domestic service opportunities to address the nation’s most pressing challenges.

She worked for two years in a college access program called College Advising Corps at Holton High School, a public school in western Michigan, providing guidance to students and their families on college exploration and admissions, financial aid and career choices.

Igl also coached and served as the school’s National Honor Society advisor. In the evenings, she taught English to non-native speakers preparing to take the United States citizenship test.

“It was a very busy but incredibly fulfilling two years,” Igl said.

Through her work in the college access program, Igl discovered that several students she helped at the school didn’t receive the necessary supports to succeed once they began their undergraduate educational journeys at institutions other than BGSU.

“Once they were in college, some students hit stumbling blocks and ended up dropping out,” Igl said. “That inspired me to want to be in a role assisting students as they transition to college and help them when they’re struggling. I want to keep them in school and help them progress toward their goals.”

As Honors Learning Community coordinator since 2021, Igl annually supports about 450 students in numerous capacities. She manages co-curricular programming, supervises interns and leads strategic planning, which includes organizing events, trips and monthly service projects.

There’s a strong focus on civic engagement and encouraging students to become active members of their communities.

Igl is also an Honors College advisor for students in the College of Musical Arts and College of Health and Human Services, supporting students from orientation through graduation.

“It’s really important to be a part of the community you live in,” Igl said. “I hope by exposing students to community service, they can learn to find as much joy in it as I do, and it will become a part of their everyday lives.”

Dr. Jodi Devine, associate dean of the Honors College, praised Igl’s efforts in helping encourage the next generation of community volunteers.

“Christina’s recognition is well deserved and serves as a great example to our students,” Devine said. “Sometimes students think they will serve their community once they graduate or start a full-time job. Christina proves that contributing to the public good can happen while they’re students.”

Updated: 01/23/2024 04:40PM