Reaching Out

Photo by Carrie Mohanna

“Don’t let your studies get in the way of your education,” Rollins President Hamilton Holt advised first-year students in the 1930s. Rollins continues to strive to make Holt’s ideal a reality for all students, encouraging them to become engaged citizens by involving them in community outreach projects beginning in their first week on campus. Leading by example, faculty and staff contribute their time and talents off campus, and the College has garnered multiple national and statewide awards for its service-learning programs and community involvement.


A Day of Service

Created in 2006, SPARC (Service Philanthropy Activism Rollins College) introduces Rollins’ newest students to the Central Florida community in a day of learning, community service, and activism by partnering students with community agencies across Central Florida. This year, more than 600 incoming first-year and transfer students, faculty, peer mentors, and staff volunteers participated in 21 projects, including landscaping at Genius Reserve, touring polluted Lake Apopka, and introducing senior citizens to the latest technology. The event produced more than 2,500 hours of community service across Central Florida.

Faculty Build Campus-Community Partnerships

George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Professor of Philosophy Margaret A. McLaren won the Florida Campus Compact (FL|CC) Service-Learning Faculty Award representing independent colleges and universities in Florida. These awards are given to individuals, projects, and organizations in higher education that greatly enhance learning while working with the community to address societal issues. This is the fourth consecutive year Rollins has received this distinguished honor. “No other school in Florida has been recognized four consecutive times with this award,” said Director of Community Engagement Micki Meyer. “Margaret McLaren has transformed our campus with her approach to student- and community-centered teaching."

A Fit-Friendly Company

In October, nearly 40 Rollins faculty and staff members teamed up with more than 11,000 walkers at Loch Haven Park for the three-mile Heart Walk, an American Heart Association event that raised $1 million. As part of the Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Program, Heart Walk raises funds for the American Heart Association and increases awareness about the benefits of adopting a healthier lifestyle. “I think participating in these types of events as Rollins employees strengthens our sense of community and encourages us to engage in the greater Orlando community, of which we are a part,” said participant Dawn Roe, assistant professor of art.

Rollins Rallies for the Rail

President Lewis Duncan joined the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal, Mayor Ken Bradley, and more than 150 community and business leaders at the Winter Park Welcome Center to show support for the SunRail in Winter Park. The SunRail, which will stop in Central Park, will help to bring visitors to Winter Park, reduce traffic and parking congestion, and increase property values in the downtown business district.

Rollins Students Engage in a Shared Vision for Central Florida

This spring, Rollins students participated in a day of discussions titled "Regional Research and Resolves." Hosted by as part of the Central Florida Partnership, the event engaged students and local community leaders in conversations about Central Florida's regional-growth vision and the area’s impact on the global community as a “World Class Region.” Participants brainstormed key indicators of a 21st-century global community, including access to multi-modal transportation, cutting-edge research and medical facilities, sustainable development, economic impact, global diversity, arts, and culture.

The House that Rollins Built

On March 20, Gail Richardson, an employee of Sodexho, the company that runs Rollins’ dining services, became the owner of a Winter Park home that she—with the help of other members of the Rollins community—built. A Habitat for Humanity homeowner participant, Richardson spent months helping to build the house that would become her home. A team of 50 Rollins students, faculty, and staff, including Winter Park Habitat leaders President Emeritus Thaddeus Seymour and alumnus Hal George ’76, joined Richardson in putting the finishing touches on her new home, helping her meet the 300 hours of "sweat equity" required to become a Habitat homeowner.