Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Service hour increase due to new logging system

Logged volunteer hours at Augustana are on track this year, if not ahead of normal as compared to previous years. The college switched to logging volunteer and service hours online through United Way on the Arches website three years ago, and Katey Bignall, director of Greek life, said logged hours have increased since students have switched from paper logging.
Bignall said for the fall and winter terms this year, Greek students have logged about 12,000 hours of service so far. The first year students tracked hours online, which was the 2012-2013 academic year, students logged 20,422 service hours, about 18,000 of those hours were logged by Greek life students. Last year, students logged over 20,000 hours, with about 16,000 of those hours being logged by Greek life students, Bignall said.
But Community Service Organizer Keri Bass said these numbers are problematic because not only are Greek life students more incentivized to log hours, but in general, students often just don’t log their volunteer hours.
“I don’t think that that is in any way shape or form reflective of the amount of service hours that are students are doing,” said Bass.
Bass said the numbers of volunteer hours also fluctuates. She sent an email out last week to the Greek life chapters and Royal Neighbors leaders and the number of logged volunteer hours increased by 1,500 within one day.
Bignall also pointed out that 43 percent of the student body is Greek, and each Greek life student is required to complete nine hours of service in the year, or about three per term, which is why they often log more hours than non-Greek students.
According to the 2014 end of the year survey that all seniors are required to complete, 85 percent of seniors last year said they volunteered in the community at some point during their four years at Augustana. Sixty-six percent said they volunteered when it was not required or strongly encouraged by a member organization, and 27 percent said they participated in a Service Learning course.
Jeffrey Ratliff-Crain, associate dean of curriculum and engagement, said he has seen more dedication to service and volunteerism at Augustana than other institutions, but he also pointed out the difference between “volunteering” and “service.”
“Service is the over-arching…ideal; it’s an action; it’s the way that we can interface with the community,” said Ratliff-Crain. “Volunteer is one way to provide service.”
He said service includes helping on and off campus, whether it be through internships, class projects, or community-based research, which may count for credit hours or pay. Volunteering, on the other hand, is not compensated by credit hour or pay.
Kristen Glass Perez, chaplain and director of vocational exploration, said the college, usually through CORE, tries to take the skill sets and interests of students and apply them to what the surrounding community needs.
“We never want to presume that we know what a community needs,” said Glass Perez. “So really, service learning is a kind of framework that we use.”
Bass said volunteering is often a good starting point for students to be involved outside of the classroom.
“Students find (volunteering) less intimidating than say going on an internship or just looking for a job in a specific field because volunteering really just requires that you do two things: show up and say, ‘What can I do?’” said Bass. Often, she added, volunteering leads to an internship with that organization.
Community service is a part of CORE, which has 22 staff members, because the office is meant to help students figure out not only what they want to do after graduation, but also to realize the importance of serving, Glass Perez said.
“(CORE is) in tandem with vocational exploration, so, helping a student figure out who they are, what they like, what they’re good at and what’s important to them and how is that matched up with what’s needed…in the global community and the local community,” said Glass Perez.
Bignall said many students don’t realize how rewarding service can be until they are seniors. She stressed the importance of volunteering in the Greek life community.
“It’s something that is very rooted in the foundation of many of our Greek chapters is giving of others,” said Bignall. “If you are able to give, then it’s kind of your duty to be able to give to others and to help others that maybe aren’t able to successfully do that.”
Bass said there are too many organizations students do service with to name, but one example is Augustana’s partnership with Longfellow Elementary School in Rock Island, also called Longfellow Liberal Arts School.
“It’s the principle of they’re in our neighborhood, so how do we partner with one another,” said Bass.
She said the service hours, which can and should be logged onto a student’s co-curricular transcript, are meant to help students write their narrative.
“People that interview you want to see that you’re civically minded,” said Bass. “They want to know that you care about the community you live in.”
She encourages all students to log their hours onto Arches, which can be found on under “Track My Volunteering.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Service hour increase due to new logging system