Community Service Guidelines

  • Consider whether or not your choice of community service is true to the spirit and intent of the HC service project. Are you doing something that will make a real difference in the community, or are you just “filling hours” with relatively meaningless work?

    • Good example: volunteering with a shelter for the homeless or victims of violence.

    • Bad example: claiming forty hours’ worth of collecting soda tabs.

  • Think about your career goals and consider choosing a service activity that will give you experience in your area of interest. For example, someone interested in a medical career might consider helping out at a local nursing home, and someone who wants to be an editor might choose to volunteer as a writing tutor.

  • Think long term. You will gain more skills and confidence if you choose a long-term placement that enhances your professional, academic, or personal development than if you bounce from project to project during your undergraduate years. Having said that, find your niche, but don’t let that close you off to other service options.

  • Freshman are encouraged to seek sustained, meaningful service across the academic year in a variety of contexts. Upperclassmen may do more than 30 hours with a single service placement or organization. However, they need to clear that major commitment with the social service coordinator prior to submitting hours online.

  • You must complete your service during the academic year. It’s time to branch out and identify with new communities. Going back to your community to do service reinforces old relationship patterns and may not provide you with new opportunities to develop professionally.

  • Community service abroad. Students who will be studying abroad, student teaching, or going away for an internship should talk with Kevin or Dr. Goebel about their options. Doing service in a foreign country can expand your horizons and lead to new interests! Community service done abroad or away from home is the only kind of experience you can receive summer credit for, but only if you get approval from Kevin (kevinb@iup.edu) in advance. If it hasn’t been approved by May 1, we won’t count it. Any pre-approved summer community service done applies to the next academic year only.

  • Consider sensitive issues, especially politics and religion. Community service performed as an extension of your personal belief system is acceptable, but it should move beyond partisan politics or the sharing of particular religious beliefs.

    • Good example: working for Get Out the Vote

    • Bad example: working for a particular political candidate

    • Good example: building a homeless shelter with your church

    • Bad example: teaching Bible study

  • Practice time. If you are participating in a service event that requires extensive rehearsal, you may only count up to ten hours per year of the time you spend preparing. We recognize that some service events lasting only a few hours require multiple rehearsal sessions which are time consuming. Time spent serving is different from time spent planning to serve.

  • Don’t forget about the HC. We’re a community too, and time spent serving HC students and Whitmyre can count toward your hours. You may earn:

    • Student Ambassador – Up to eight hours

    • Open House – One hour per event

    • Overnight Host – Five hours

    • Orientation – Thirty hours

These hours must be approved by staff. Hours awarded for helping with orientation will vary depending upon your level of commitment and the amount of time you spend interacting with students. 

  • Alternate Spring Break. ASB can be a very meaningful way explore a challenging or new environment, work with others, and help people in serious need. If you do ASB, you may only count up to thirty hours for this experience. The travel time does not apply here.