UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Million-hour milestone for UNCG’s service and civic engagement

Photo of UNCG Guarantee student scholars washing windows in the communityUNCG’s Office of Leadership & Service-learning has sharpened its pencils and tallied the university-wide numbers. And UNCG’s students have reached a milestone:

They are now engaging in more than 1 million community service hours annually.

The 1 million hours documented in community service include UNCG students in myriad activities throughout the county on volunteer service days, UNCG student teachers in area public schools or volunteers in after-school youth development, School of Nursing students in a practicum at area hospitals, social work students engaged in field work – the list goes on. The ways in which UNCG students engage in impactful ways in the community and develop into “citizen leaders” are many.

This is the first time UNCG’s Office of Leadership & Service-Learning has tabulated a figure that passes the 1,000,000 mark.

The exact figure is 1,060,829 hours. That is for the 2013-14 academic year, the last year for which all the numbers have been calculated.

The number of students who engaged in academic service-learning – community service through courses – for 2013-14 was 7,029. Examples include the Communication and Society Course in Communication Studies, in which students work with young people in the Boys and Girls Club to organize and implement activities, and a history course in which students work with Preservation Greensboro on a social history of local, historic homes.

Those who otherwise engaged in forms of community service? 4,434.

‘The university is developing ‘citizen leaders,’” says Dr. Cathy Hamilton, director of the UNCG Office of Leadership and Service-Learning (OLSL). “When students come to UNCG for the first time, we want them to understand that even as we welcome them as part of the UNCG community, we stress they are also a vital part of the Greensboro community. Becoming a citizen leader means developing a commitment for the common good and the skills for effecting positive change in society.”

Acting Chancellor Dana Dunn says,“‘Service’ has been this university’s motto since its earliest days. This figure is a remarkable milestone. It speaks to the tremendous impact UNCG makes in our community, through the efforts of thousands of Spartan students working alongside many community partners.”

Although the numbers don’t tell the whole story, gathering the numbers has been something that UNCG has committed to do since the inception of the national Presidential Honor Roll for Community Engagement in 2006. Since that time, OLSL and UNCG’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement have taken the lead to document community engagement for UNCG’s Carnegie Foundation application for elective Carnegie Classification of Community Engagement. UNCG was awarded this classification in 2008 and again, when it was time for renewal renew, in 2015.

Community service means activities designed to improve the quality of life of off-campus community residents, particularly low income individuals, Hamilton explains. Community service activities may include but are not limited to: academic service-learning, co-curricular service learning (not part of an academic course, but utilizing service-learning elements) and other co-curricular student volunteer activities, as well as Work-Study community service and paid community service internships. Community service includes both direct service to citizens (e.g., serving food to the needy) and indirect service (e.g., assessing community nutrition needs or managing a food bank). Academic service-learning means service that is integrated with academic course content. It may involve direct or indirect service, and may include academic research.

Spartan Service Day will be this Saturday – with Spartans at 15 locations throughout Guilford County. Details are at http://olsl.uncg.edu/students/community-service/short-term-service/spartan-service-day/.

By Mike Harris
Photo by Martin Kane. UNCG Guarantee students volunteered at Barnabas Network last week.

Next week: a look at UNCG OLSL service trips to Hurricane Katrina affected areas in the years after the storm.