Tulane Arranging 750,000 Hours Of Community Service To Honor Scott Cowen

Sep 4, 2013

Tulane University is launching a call for volunteers to perform 750,000 hours of community service as a tribute to retiring school President Scott Cowen. The project is open to Tulane students, faculty and the community at large.

Tulane University has a longstanding tradition of supporting community service. After Hurricane Katrina, Scott Cowen kicked it up a notch to make it a graduation requirement — including classroom discussions of the work.

Vincent Ilustre is executive director of the Tulane Center for Public Service.

“The way that he did it was really smart because he embedded it academically, which is part of the main mission of the university — is to educate our students," he said. "And so, not only are we telling them ‘Go do this,’ but, ‘Go do this because it actually benefits you educationally.’ ”  

Ilustre says projects can include community cleanups, tutoring or volunteering at a school. He says students now log 430,000 hours a year.

He’s confident the expansion will reach the goal with more volunteers.

“Whatever hours we have, I do imagine that at minimum two-thirds of those hours are going to directly benefit New Orleans,” he said.

Ilustre says volunteers can sign up through the Tulane website.