News and Upcoming Events

    2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

    Ringling College has been named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement. The College has been on the list every year since 2006. 

    The institutions were cited for their achievements in general community service or in one of two special focus areas which align with the President’s education and innovation priorities, the Promise Neighborhoods model and early childhood education.

    The 2013 Presidential Award winners are: Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody, Ga.; Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pa.; and the University of Connecticut, Storrs-Mansfield, Conn.; as well as La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif., for its Promise Neighborhoods model; and Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y., for its early childhood education efforts.

    “We congratulate the awardees and the students for their dedication to service,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “These institutions have inspired students and faculty alike to roll up their sleeves and work alongside members of the community to solve problems and improve their neighbors’ lives.”

    In addition to the Presidential Award winners, a total of 690 higher education institutions were named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. ( Of this number, 113 institutions earned the recognition of Honor Roll with Distinction. 

    Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, CNCS has administered the award since 2006.

    “Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Civic engagement should be a key component of every student’s education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens.”

    College students make a significant contribution to their communities through volunteering and service, according to the most recent Volunteering and Civic Life in America report. In 2012, 3.1 million college students dedicated more than 118 million hours of service across the country — a contribution valued at $2.5 billion. 

    “Across the nation, in the communities in which HUD works, I’ve seen many students who have committed themselves to assisting individuals and strengthening neighborhoods,” said U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “HUD congratulates these institutions and is honored to be part of this effort that recognizes colleges and their students for putting the common good before personal gain.”

    CNCS manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact. 


    Ringling College student volunteers have enjoyed many successful service programs in recent months. Please enjoy reading our updates below, which include just a small sampling of their incredible accomplishments.

    The Department of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning--as well as Ringling College volunteers--have had a very busy February, participating in eight service projects over sixteen days of programming.  We would like to recognize some of our students, community partners, and their accomplishments.


    2600 Meals for Families in Need 

    On February 17th, Ringling Volunteers participated in an All Faiths Food Bank food sorting project.  Our 10 volunteers served for 2 hours, and provided over 2,600 meals for local families in need! Read more here:


    Encouraging Art in the Next Generation

    For the past three years 4th year Illustration student Aixa Rumbaut, a Student Coordinator in Ringling Volunteerism Opportunities group (RVo) within the Department of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning, has coordinated and taught art classes at Children First, a local kindergarten-readiness facility for low-income familes.  Aixa faithfully hosts these art programs every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the academic year.  You can read about her program here: . 


    Portraits for Children in International Orphanages

    Livy Long, a 3rd year Illustration student, has involved over 100 of her peers in the Memory Project since her first year at Ringling College. She and fellow students have sent portraits of children living in orphanages all over the world. The director of the Memory Project, Ben Schumaker, made this video just to celebrate Livy’s enormous contribution:


    Creativity Combats Disaster
     In November of 2012, 3rd year students Gabriella Thompson (Graphic and Interactive Communication), Sarah Kambara (Business of Art and Design) and Marysol Stepanof (Motion Design) founded Relief Print, an initiative focused on raising disaster relief funds through creativity and with the support of the artistic community.  In December they raised $763.00 for Hurricane Sandy, donated through the Red Cross; in January, Relief Print provided the department with t-shirts for our Martin Luther King National Day of Service Program; most recently, in February they raised $620.00 for the victims and families affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy and have chosen to donate those funds through The United Way.  You can check out all they’ve done here:

    Relief Print, Hurricane Sandy:

    Relief Print, MLK National Day of Service:

    Relief Print, Sandy Hook Elementary:


    Toys for Children: Triumph over Trauma

    In February, Ringling volunteers participated in the SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center) Toy Making Project conceived and led by 4th year Illustration RVo Student Coordinator Kaitlyn Priestly.  This monthly program provides stuffed toys for children who have been temporarily displaced due to domestic or sexual violence.  Volunteers made eleven toys, which were enthusiastically received by the SPARCC shelter this week. You can read more about this program here:


    We would like to thank all of our amazing student volunteers for the incredible work they do in our community! To check out more pictures and articles about the Department of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning’s service programs, please visit our Tumblr at and watch the Announcements for more updates!


    Rachel Levey-Baker
     Director of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning
     Office of Student Life



    Heather Kushner
     Americorps VISTA, Assistant Coordinator 
     of Student Volunteerism and Service-Learning
     Office of Student Life









    Relief Prints

    Relief Print is a t-shirt screen-printing event and fundraising
    initiative created by Gabriella Thompson and Sarah Kambara,
    students at Ringling college of Art + Design in Sarasota,
    Florida. The purpose of Relief Print was to raise funds for
    Hurricane Sandy victims on the East Coast.

    A college-wide act of volunteerism came together as student
    artists submitted designs for Relief Print. Resident Assistants
    and their residents volunteered to prepare the screens for
    printing, and helped out on the event day, Friday December
    7th. A total of seven submitted designs were exhibited for
    faculty and students to choose from, to have printed on shirts
    in return for a donation. Designs were also available on bags,
    buttons, and whatever items people brought to print on.

    The result of the event was phenomenal, with a total of
    $763.00 raised through Relief Print in the time span of only
    eight hours. Gabriella Thompson and Sarah Kambara wish to
    continue hosting Relief Print events to raise funds for future
    disaster needs not only domestically, but also globally.



    On November 17, 2012 Ringling College of Art and Design’s volunteers spent their day at the 6th Annual Children’s Reading and Art Day at the Children’s Garden of Sarasota.  The non-profit known as Children’s Garden is a “…two acre whimsical and interactive garden for kids where imagination blossoms and nature play is getting your hands dirty.”  Their annual Children’s Reading and Art Day is a celebration of creativity, literature and nature.  Head of Children’s Garden, Joan Condon, has written a children’s book inspired by her garden (pictured above) which you can learn more about here:

    Students helped the art instructors by supervising the children while they created their masterpieces.  These included: talking sticks, cave paintings, self-portraits, and story illustrations.  Ringling volunteers also helped assist the children in reading and interpretation of stories.

    Deep in the garden, student volunteers helped the children paint the Children’s Garden’s “rainforest,’ a patch of colorful PVC pipes staggered amongst bamboo.  These PVC pipes are rigged with misters, to give this section of the garden an authentic “rainforest” feel.

    This volunteer opportunity, coordinated by Karen Arango (Student-Coordinator, RVo) was an enormous success in many ways.  The Ringling student volunteers had an absolute blast and the Children’s Reading and Art Day was a huge hit!  Thank you to our gracious hosts, Joan and Robyn, for inviting us to participate in this wonderful event.  A special thank you to our volunteers: Kaitlyn Priestly, Ashley Wang, Alex Sanchez, Lari Alejandro, Josh Woolbert, Sips Magagula, Yilmaz Sazak, and Tyler Keshner!



    A Splash of Color at the Fire Department Open House

    October 6, 2012:  Every year the Sarasota Fire Department hosts their Fire Department Open House at Station 5. Here the department displays their firefighting skills and educates the community about fire prevention.  The Fire Department also provides food and entertainment, including a children’s section with an obstacle course and face painting.

    The Ringling College volunteers boasted their own skills in the children’s section—with an estimated 1,200 visitors, they worked along-side firefighters, EMTS and fire inspectors to tackle the enormous demand for face painting!

    A special ‘thank you’ to our volunteers: Ally Sage, Lauren Nus, Chelsea Davis, Susan Saulnier, Karen Arango, and Aixa Rumbaut, and of course our host Captain Susan Pearson!

    We are honored and thrilled to be a part of this annual event, and cannot wait for next years Open House!



    2012 Freshman Orientation Service Project

    Every year Ringling College of Art and Design allows the incoming students to get their foot in the door of volunteerism by setting up various projects during orientation week. This 
    year was a success! Ringling partnered up with seven organizations which included:

    *Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities
    Students helped out with the Community Haven Open House at game tables, dunk booths and other 
    activities. Students also helped to propagate plants in the nursery, and clean up around the 
    Community Haven grounds.

    *GWIZ Hands on Science Museum
    Students worked on the GWIZ sidewalk mural, which consists of about 500 feet of images and text. 
    This mural is full of science images and facts to give visitors an engaging and educational 
    experience as they explore the GWIZ grounds.

    *InStride Equine Therapy
    At this program, students helped clean stables and painted picnic tables with images of horses and other equine-themes.

    *YMCA Sarasota
    Students worked to landscape and beautify a property that is being renovated into a future Y- Youth Shelter. They cut grass, pulled out invasive plants, trimmed trees, raked leaves and mulched 
    the grounds. 

    *Orange Blossom Community Garden

    *Alligator Creek (Sarasota County Park) Grounds clean-up and beautification

    *Caspersen Beach (Sarasota County Park) Grounds clean-up and beautification

    85 percent of Ringling’s incoming students participated in this years activities.