Community Service or Manditory Volunterrism

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Think about the following words: mandatory volunteer- ism. Seems like somewhat of a contradiction. If volunteering and community service sug- gests a willingness to serve, can making service mandatory alter one’s attitude toward giv- ing back?

During the Council of Presi- dents retreat this past Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, presidents and officers from over 100 campus organizations met to discuss plans and procedures for the upcoming school year. Some of the topics discussed included: proper procedures for reserving rooms, fundraising, using the online system, OrgSync, and organizing meetings.

However, when the Council of Presidents’ executive board announced the current community service requirements through approved Civic and Service Education (C.A.S.E.) hours, controversy erupted throughout the crowded Academic Classroom Building auditorium.

As of Spring 2015, students are required to do 10 hours of community service per organization, per semester. The 10 service hours need to be with the organization a student is a part of in order to be considered a member, and for the organization to be approved for the next school year.

This causes frustrations for organizations that have offered community service, but still have inactive members or members who have not completed the required hours. Since this policy was implemented in the middle of the school year, it made it hard for some organi- zations to implement this new requirement.

Known for community service and a commitment to the community, North Carolina A&T State University has donated millions of dollars worth of community service over the past year. During the institu- tion’s 125th anniversary, the University aims to complete 125 community service projects.

While there is no doubt community service should be encouraged amongst students on campus, the hours required for students should not penalize an organization’s progress or deter- mine their status of activity for the following year. Because everyone does not always seek out community service opportunities or know where to find them, it is important for organizations to provide community service opportunities for their members. If organizations are not volun- tarily offering them, then the university should mandate or- ganizations to provide a certain amount of community service opportunities and projects.

What is the magic number that will encourage meaningful service, but not place too much stress on students’ schedules? 25? 30? 50?

In order to hold organizations and students individually accountable, community service hours must be encouraged throughout all organizations with required hours for both the student and organization. For example, a registered organization would be required to pro- vide at least 30 hours of documented community service per semester for their organization, and students would be required to do at least 25 hours of community service hours per semester either with their organization or on their own time.

This new requirement would offer flexibility to students and organizations when planning and carrying out volunteer ac- tivities. For me, as with many students, finding enjoyable community service projects that fit into our schedules is important in order to make a great impact for the body served.

While I do not completely agree with the idea of ‘mandatory volunteerism,’ without too many strict requirements, it can be used as a tool to get students motivated to give back to the Greensboro community. To all my Aggies, especially in celebration of the school’s 125th anniversary, the key is to serve with purpose. After all, that’s what Aggies do!

Kristen Shipley – Contributor

– Email Kristen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @perfectlyk