USC community service totals nearly $9.3 million
By Melissa Gentry, Department of Student Life, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-5937
University of South Carolina students, faculty and staff contributed nearly $9.3 million in time and money during the 2011-12 academic year, according to the USC Community Service Report.
Based on information reported by members of the Carolina community, 30,676 volunteers gave their time to participate in community service for a total of 472,152 service hours. In addition, Gamecocks contributed more than $1.3 million in monetary donations for a total estimated economic impact of $9,288,245.32.
The commitment to service by members of the Carolina community expands each year as more participants give their time and money to impact the local community.
“At USC, the culture of service continues to grow year after year,” said Theresa Harrison, coordinator for Community Service Programs. “As a result, we see more community agencies wanting to collaborate with the university to make positive changes here in Columbia.”
A result of these efforts, USC was named to the 2012 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.
Organized community service programs began at USC in 1989 with the establishment of the Office of Community Service Programs, part of the Department of Student Life, in an effort to make service an integral part of the educational experience at Carolina. Today, the office provides regular service opportunities for the Carolina community ranging from one-day Service Saturdays to three days of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., to weeklong alternative break service trips. Academic partnerships offer students the opportunity to participate in semester-long service-learning experiences.
Through a continued commitment to service, Carolina students, faculty and staff develop the lifelong skills to be engaged and active citizens.
“Students, faculty and staff who engage in our programs begin building their lifetime commitment to serving their communities,” said Kim McMahon, director of Campus Life/Russell House University Union who oversees the Office of Community Service Programs. “This shapes their character and helps us build stronger communities. We are better citizens and more aware of the needs of others because of our university involvement in our local community.”
Community Service Programs challenges students, faculty and staff to continue the service tradition this holiday season by participating in the upcoming Carolina Cares holiday service drive, which runs Oct. 22 through Nov. 20. Individuals or groups can adopt a family and provide them with a Thanksgiving dinner through the Nurturing Center and fill a stocking for a child in need through the Salvation Army. The Carolina Cares drive culminates with the 58th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. on the Horseshoe.
For more information about getting involved with Community Service Programs, which is part of the Department of Student Life, and to read the full Community Service Report for 2011-2012, visit www.sa.sc.edu/communityservice.
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