Semester of Service

The Semester of Service Program

The Missouri Campus Compact Semester of Service program encourages students to give their time and talents to communities, and offers a tool for recognizing and celebrating students for their efforts. Since the program began in 2009, it has served as a mechanism for supporting civic engagement and service-learning activities that foster reciprocal partnerships/relationships between our member campuses and the communities they live in and serve. 

When students provide service (through volunteering, service-learning, or a combination of service opportunities) to community organizations, government agencies, or community-wide initiatives over the course of a single semester, they track their hours with the Semester of Service Logbook. Logbooks and accompanying documentation are sent to Missouri Campus Compact. Students have the opportunity to be recognized with a certificate based on three different levels of contribution. In order to receive their certificate, the student must download, fill out and mail in (with the Logbook) the Semester of Service certificate application

  • Definitions of Service

  • How to Participate

  • Recognition

  • FAQ

  • Outcomes

Definitions of Service

Definition

The purpose of the Semester of Service program is to recognize and celebrate student civic engagement through their activities that serve the wider community. We recognize that there are varying definitions of engagement. When students are participating in civic engagement or service activities, they are generally focused on issues of social concern and working toward enhanced quality of life and community benefit. For this program we utilize Thomas Ehrlich’s definition (2000):

"working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes."  (Ehrlich, 2000, page vi.) 

Accepted Activities

The program intends to help students engage with the community outside of campus. While your service activities may be completed on campus, they should involve community members, agencies, or issues off campus. Consider the following question when determining the relevance of particular activities: "Am I doing something that makes the community a better place or enhanced quality of life in some way?"

Examples of Accepted Activities

Service hours may include but are not limited to the following. 

  • Volunteering at a community organization
  • Developing and implementing a program or activity for a community organization
  • Participating in a community-wide initiative that is not a formal organization (community committee, task force, etc.)
  • Civic engagement activities through a service-learning course at the institution
  • Philanthropy work such as raising money for a cause
  • Conducting a community-based research project that involves community input and participation
  • Community organizing activities
  • Raising awareness of a social issue through a community organization or government entity
  • Working to address a social issue on campus (e.g. student food insecurity, services for low-income students, sexual assault on campus)
  • Internships that involve working with a community group/agency to address a social issue or enhance their capacity

Activities NOT Accepted

Please note that the following do not meet the requirements as determined by the definition above.

  • Attendance at meetings for a fraternity/sorority, student government, service organizations on campus unless the meetings involve planning community engagement activities. 
  • Attending class 
  • Involvement in promoting the college/university (e.g. recruitment events)
  • Part-time jobs that do not involve working with a community group/agency to address a social issue or enhance their capacity

If you have questions about the qualifications of certain activities, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Definition based on Ehrlich, T. (2000). Civic responsibility and higher education. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

How to Participate

Service Hour Logbooks may be requested by individual students, faculty/staff, or offices at member campuses. Students will record their hours in the booklet starting at the beginning of the semester (tips are listed below). The students must complete the booklets, certificate order form, and assessment (included in the order form). These three items may be sent in directly to Missouri Campus Compact or collected at the students’ institution and sent in as a batch. Download the certificate order form and assessment at the link below. This form should be submitted with the booklet. 

Semester of Service Certificate Application  

Documenting Your Service Hours
  • Keep records in chronological order
  • Write or print clearly; fill in the personal information on the first page
  • Each activity is recorded separately; name of activity or place,  and signature
  • Any abbreviation should be explained the first time you enter it or written inside the back cover
  • Use the space provided without cramming; fill in your pages and use a second booklet if needed
  • Obtain a signature from a representative on the community agency/initiative
  • The program coordinator from your institution will sign the last page (typically service-learning or volunteerism coordinator on campus)
    • Examples from participating schools:
      • Cottey College - Renee Hampton
      • St. Charles Community College - Mandi Smith, Kelley Pfeiffer, or Bryonie Carter
      • St. Louis Community College - Meramec - Debbie Corson

Recognition

At the end of the semester, students who have provided 45 hours or more of service will be eligible to receive the following:

  • A Certificate of Service
    • Community Contributor.........45 hours
    • Community Changer.............70 hours
    • Community Catalyst............100 hours
  • Missouri Campus Compact website recognition
  • A letter of recognition to the student
  • A letter to the president of the student’s institution
  • Two letters to people (parents, employers, coaches, instructors, etc.) identified by student

FAQ

What service activities are eligible for the Semester of Service program?

We are looking for you to demonstrate that you have taken part in programs or initiatives that somehow enrich the community you live in outside of campus. Eligible service includes: participation in programs that improve the quality of life around you by building bridges of communication between your campus and the off-campus community, partnering with agencies to educate others about or address an issue of social concern, addressing a social issue that also occurs on campus, or working with groups on campus that integrate service with the off-campus community. When contemplating a particular service activity, ask yourself “How am I making my community a better place to live and/or how am I improving the quality of life for those who live in my community?”

Does my internship count toward service hours?

Maybe. It depends on if your internship involves working with a community agency or organization whose goal is to work on community betterment initiatives or if the agency is implementing programs that address social issues or concerns. If so, then yes, your internship will count. If the internship is not working toward either of the above-mentioned activities, then no, it does not count. Examples could include interning at a local nonprofit such as Boys and Girls Club or a government agency such as a community center or parks and recreation department. It could even include working with a local corporate sector business to help them address a particular issue such as a real estate developer addressing low-income housing or building their corporate social responsibility and employee volunteerism. 

When gathering signatures for my passport/logbook, how do I identify the representative from the community agency/organization I’ll be working with?

The faculty or staff member who is coordinating the Semester of Service program on your campus will be able to help you establish clear lines of communication and be able to help you identify the representative who will be signing off on your hours. This representative will depend on the structure of the organization and who is supervising the service you are doing. This may include, but is not limited to the Executive Director, a Program Coordinator/Director, or a Volunteer Manager.

What activities do not fill the requirement for the program?

If the activity or program that you are involved in has no intended impact in your off-campus community,  then the activity does not fulfill requirements for the program. Taking part in student groups (student government, honor society, special interest club) or attending meetings on campus does not count, UNLESS that particular student group is working on programs that will better the off-campus community. For instance, if your special interest club or student government is working to address or educate about a particular social issue then those hours working with the club and attending those planning meetings will count. We will also count hours working with campus organizations or clubs specifically dedicated to service to the community (e.g., campus specific service clubs, Habitat for Humanity,  Amnesty International). 

Can I apply hours of service completed in past semesters (other than the current semester I am enrolled in)?

No. The service hours you report in your logbook/passport MUST be from the current semester in which you are enrolled.

Can I use the summer to complete or start my service hours?

Yes, but check with the coordinator on your campus in case they have preferred deadlines. MOCC allows students to complete spring semester hours during the following summer. Students may also start their fall service hours early during the summer that precedes the start of the semester.

What are some examples of community agencies I can work with in order to fulfill the requirements of the program?

Students may complete their service hours at any variety of nonprofit organizations, community groups, or government agencies. In general, we expect students to work within programs and initiatives that work to benefit the community. For instance, this could include a Boys and Girls Club, the local United Way, animal shelters, a county public health department, a neighborhood association, a senior center. Students may also complete their service hours through an on-campus service club or student organization, as long as they are actively engaged with a community organization (as described above) or social issue off campus. Students may also fulfill hour requirements by working to address a social issue on campus (e.g. food insecurity, services for low-income students, sexual assault on campus). In this instances we would encourage students to partner with an off-campus agency; however, it is not necessary. 

Does recruiting other students (for purposes of enrollment to your institution) or promoting my institution to the off-campus community count toward service hours?

No. Although always encouraged, promoting your university or recruiting students does not count toward service hours. Remember, ask yourself, “Am I doing something that makes the community a better place?”

Questions?

For all other inquiries into the program or any other questions concerning eligible activities, please contact the Semester of Service coordinator (faculty or staff member who is administering or facilitating the program) on your campus or contact our office directly. Please direct inquiries to Kunti Bentley, Program Coordinator, at kuntibentley@missouristate.edu or 417-836-4549.

 

Outcomes

Outcomes

The intention of this program is to facilitate the development of the following outcomes:

  • Self-Awareness: Awareness of personal strengths and limitations
  • Awareness of community: Knowledge of community issues; Ability to identify community assets and needs
  • Commitment: Plans for future service
  • Involvement: Amount (hours)
  • Connection to community: Developed sense of belonging with community

Outcomes based on Gelmon, S.B., Holland, B.A., Driscoll, A., Spring, A., & Kerrigan, S. (2001). Assessing service-learning and civic engagement: Principles and techniques. Boston, MA: Campus Compact.

Semester of Service Award

For a list of past Semester of Service awardees visit our Awards Page.