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ASU partners with Governor's Commission to build AmeriCorps alumni network

Group shot of AmeriCorps members, alumni
September 15, 2014

To mark the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, one of the nation’s leading service programs, Arizona State University and the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism have announced the beginning of a groundbreaking partnership aimed at building a highly effective network of civic-minded Arizonans – the first-ever collaboration between a university and an AmeriCorps alumni chapter.

Since 1994, AmeriCorps has pledged to "get things done for America," and that commitment was celebrated Friday, Sept. 12, across the nation, at close to 80 swearing-in ceremonies, including one on the White House front lawn and one on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

The ASU event marked the beginning of the promising, new collaboration.

In partnering, ASU and the Governor's Office will work to develop a statewide AmeriCorps alumni network focused on providing career development services and community service events, and cultivating a highly effective statewide network – a goal that many states have found challenging.

The partnership entails ASU also working closely with the national AmeriCorps Alumni office on the network's design and launch in order to help position Arizona as the national model for other states to follow. Additionally, the strategic partnership holds the potential to transform how state governments and public universities collaborate in order to engage and activate AmeriCorps alumni in their communities.

Jacqueline Smith, executive director of ASU’s Office of University Initiatives, said she was excited about the direction of the partnership and the lessons it holds for the rest of the country.

“We have a responsibility to provide those who serve our country, both in the armed service and in civilian corps, the opportunity to fully develop their dreams and goals,” Smith said. “It is vital that Arizona work to activate and empower these civic-minded individuals who have demonstrated a passion and commitment to the common good.”

More than 17,000 Arizona residents have served in AmeriCorps since 1994, and another 2,000 will serve in Arizona this year alone. Arizona volunteers have provided more than 17 million hours of service, and earned more than $42 million in education grant money.

The celebration ceremony, which took place Friday on ASU’s downtown campus, featured a number of notable public leaders, such as Jaime Molera, the inaugural director of the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism and former state superintendent of public instruction, who provided opening remarks that focused on the important work accomplished by AmeriCorps in Arizona. Arizona State House Representative Stefanie Mach was also in attendance, and was recognized with an AmeriCorps Alumni National Leadership award for her demonstrated commitment to service.