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2011-12 Service-Learning Report: Eckerd College Students Volunteered 83,350 Hours

posted on 08/20/2012

Eckerd students in Ukiah, CA

The 2011-12 Service-Learning Annual Report reveals that Eckerd students donated a record-breaking 83,350 (83,354 hours to be exact) community service hours during the last academic year. With Eckerd's student population at 1,817, the total reflects an average of 45 volunteer hours per student.

The 10,000-hour increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including:

  • Academic service-learning hours saw an increase of 7,563 hours from 33,279 hours in 2010-2011 to 40,842 this past academic year. This 23 percent increase that accounts for 49 percent of the total hours is due largely in part to the work of Director of International Student Services Olivier DeBure and Service-Learning Administrative Coordinator Amanda Foster on the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) along with the participating QEP faculty.
  • Co-curricular programmed service hours out of the Office of Service-Learning accounted for a 27 percent increase from the previous year. The Office implemented a number of environmental service programs and other activities to contribute to this increase.
  • Service-Learning led 19 spring break service projects this past March, one more from the previous year, for a nearly 20 percent increase in hours.
  • Strong student leadership in the Gamma Knox Service House accounted for a 242 service hour increase in that residence hall.

For five consecutive years, the Office of Service-Learning has documented an impressive number of volunteer hours: 59,216 (2006-07), 56,849 (2007-08), 69,862 (2008-09), 73,645 (2009-10), and 72,623 (2010-11) respectively.

The Annual Report details six main areas of service available to students: Academic Service-Learning (i.e., Autumn Term, specific courses, Quest for Meaning, Winter Terms; Service Programs (i.e., Into the Streets); Spring Break service trips; Educational Events (i.e., service-learning and internship fair, Social Justice Dinners); Service Clubs (i.e., Eckerd College Homeless Outreach, Eckerd College Community Garden, Relay for Life); and the Gamma Knox Service Dorm.

Another longstanding volunteer program at Eckerd is the Eckerd College-Search and Rescue (EC-SAR) Team. Working closely with the US Coast Guard, 911 Emergency Medical Response, and other state and local agencies, students are trained in technical rescue, boating safety, seamanship, searching, fire fighting, de-watering, navigation, medical response, and evening piloting rescue vessels. The 55 members of the EC-SAR Team addressed 537maritime cases, resulting in 4,147 service hours to the Tampa Bay boating community.

This past year's 83,354 community service hours were tabulated mostly from the 1,817 students in the Residential program and do not include the thousands of hours donated by students enrolled in the Program for Experienced Learners or hours volunteered by students during the summer months.

The Office of Service-Learning is the college's best resource for community service and service-learning opportunities in the Tampa Bay area and beyond. It offers a host of opportunities for individuals and student groups to get involved in a large variety of volunteer and advocacy services in Tampa Bay and abroad. In addition, the office works in conjunction with faculty members to integrate community service projects into much of their academic coursework.

Click here to learn more about Service-Learning at Eckerd College

Photo: Eckerd students perform volunteer work at the City of Ten-Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Ukiah, Calif. (March 2012)

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