The Outstanding Service Project of the Year recognizes an exceptional campus program that has made significant contributions to its community through service projects and a commitment to helping others. This rewards a campus for its dedication to being a leader in supporting community needs.

2024 Recipient: Mini Cougar Cupboard Pantries, 
Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville

Upon receiving a grant from the Meridian Society, the Morris University Center, through the MUC University Center Board, established the Mini Cougar Cupboard Pantries. When the full Cougar Cupboard pantry is not open, any student, faculty, or staff member who is experiencing food insecurity can use the Mini Pantries. There’s no application, there’s no form, there’s no red tape. Sustained through community donations, the pantries are passive local systems through which people can get access to basic needs.  

Submission deadline is November 15, 2024. Check back soon for submission form link.

The nomination period is closed. Please check back in 2024 for more details on the next nomination period.

Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information of the primary contact for the program.
  2. Title of the program.
  3. A summary, up to two pages, of the program, addressing:
    • Description of the program, including goals and intended outcomes.
    • Description and inclusion of the evaluation methods in place for the program, including brief rationale for choosing stated methods.
    • Evidence that the program meets the criteria identified for this specific award.
  4. And one compiled packet of additional supporting documentation for the program, which could include photos, marketing samples, course materials, budget information, testimonials, etc. No page limit exists, but only the first 15 pages will be considered by the review committee.

The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of these criteria:

  • Demonstrate the use of practices that exemplify outstanding creativity or introduce new approaches beyond what is standard.
  • Demonstrate effectiveness of the campus department or the community where it occurred.
  • Achieve its stated intended outcomes with a lasting impact that successfully serves a community or campus need.

Due to the wide variety of programs that can be considered, a program does not need to meet every criterion.

All ACUI member institutions are eligible to apply for this award. For collaborative initiatives or partnerships, all institutions must be ACUI members. Eligible programs must:

  • Have taken place since the beginning of the previous academic year.
  • Serve as a model to other campuses for replication.
  • Achieve its stated program outcomes and objectives, with evaluation tools in place.
  • Agree to allow a summary of their accomplishments to be published.

Electronic notification will be sent to confirm submissions have been received. A confidential Campus Awards Committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review materials to make the selection. One recipient will be chosen, unless otherwise noted for the specific award. One physical award will be given to the recipient, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.

  • 2023: Giving Tuesday, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi 
  • 2022: Impact Living Learning Community at the University of Houston
  • 2021: Not given
  • 2020: Seminar Service Project – University of Minnesota–Duluth
  • 2019: Field to Pantry – Oregon State University
  • 2018: Metropolitan Volunteer Program: Rock the Block – University of Houston
  • 2017: Cougar Cave and Community Wellness Department – Clackamas Community College
  • 2016: Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week – University of Akron
  • 2015: Weber Ogden Adaptive Program – Weber State University
  • 2014: National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week – Oregon State University
  • 2013: Tiger Pantry – University of Missouri–Columbia
  • 2012: Gorter Family Foundation and North Chicago Community Partners Program – Lake Forest College
  • 2011: Knights Helping Knights Pantry – University of Central Florida
  • 2010: Unified We Serve Project – California State University–Northridge
  • 2009: The Aidan Project – University of Notre Dame
  • 2008: Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning – Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis