What Counts as Service Hours?

Service and Civic Engagement is one of the six pillars of the OSU Experience and the Student Volunteer Center is dedicated to making this pillar accessible to all of the students at Oklahoma State University. One of the functions of the SVC is to oversee the recording of community service hours. In order to ensure that students are completing meaningful community service hours, we have created the following guidelines. We recognize that there may be situations where it is difficult to determine whether or not an activity meets the requirements to be classified as service, and we encourage students to email volunteer.center@okstate.edu with any questions or concerns.

These regulations will apply to all service hours submissions received on or after August 28th, 2017 regardless of when the service hours were performed.

General Requirements

·         All community service hours must be submitted for approval on CampusLink. Submissions must include a detailed description of the service performed as well as a phone number or email address of a verification contact.

·         Students cannot count time spent on activities for which they received compensation as community service hours. A free meal, t-shirt, or place to stay do not count as compensation.

·         If you are unsure of whether or not your activity counts as service, please email volunteer.center@okstate.edu. Although there is room for discussion, the decision to either count or not count hours ultimately rests with the SVC.

·         There are both on and off-campus opportunities for service hours, and students are encouraged to participate in a variety of service projects.

·         Activities that generally do not count as community service include:

o   Philanthropy (exceptions listed under Philanthropy)

o   Student club/organization activities

o   Service for a religious organization

o   Work for which you receive compensation

o   Homecoming (exceptions listed under Homecoming)

On-Campus Service

·         On-campus service is service that directly benefits Oklahoma State University or is physically conducted on Oklahoma State University’s campus.

·         Examples of on-campus service include but are not limited to:

o   Hours spent working in a research lab

o   SGA Sustainability Game Day Recycling

o   Serving as an ambassador for your college (ex. CASNR Ambassadors)

o   Serving as a Welcome Week Leader

o   On-campus events such as Fanfare of Lights, OSU Up Close, etc.

Off-Campus Service

·         Off-campus service is service that benefits entities other than Oklahoma State University such as non-profit organizations, local schools, community members, etc.

·         Examples of off-campus service include but are not limited to:

o   Volunteering at the humane society

o   Serving as a reading buddy at an elementary school

o   Working at a food bank

o   Visiting the elderly members of a nursing home

o   Building a house with Habitat for Humanity

o   Into the Streets

·         Off-campus service is not limited to the Stillwater community. Service hours can be completed all across the country and even internationally.

·         Please note that time spent traveling to and from the service location cannot be counted as service hours.

Philanthropy

·         Philanthropy is the act of donating or raising money and differs from community service. In order to earn community service hours, a student must give time rather than funds.

·         Participating in or attending a philanthropy event does not count as service. Examples of what cannot be counted are:

o   A charity run/walk

o   Relay for Life

o   Up Til Dawn

o   Philanthropy events hosted by a fraternity or sorority

o   Purchasing a T-shirt

·         There are a few exceptions such as:

o   Time spent performing an essential function can be counted as community service (ex. handing out water during a race, crowd management, checking people in, etc.)

o   With approval from the SVC, time spent planning/organizing a philanthropy event can be counted as community service (ex. CowboyThon committee, Angel Tree, fraternity/sorority philanthropies, etc.). Students wishing to receive community service hours under this exception must include a detailed description of all activities completed and the amount of time spent on each activity.

Student Clubs and Organizations

·         Time spent on activities that only benefit the membership of an organization cannot be counted as community service hours. Examples include but are not limited to:

o   Attending/leading any meetings

o   Preparing materials such as agendas or flyers

o   Marketing for your organization

·         Time spent on activities that benefit a wider population can be counted as community service hours. Examples include but are not limited to:

o   Hosting an event that is open to all of campus and/or the community

o   Performing an off-campus group service project

o   Creating/promoting educational materials that address a humanitarian issue

Religious Organizations

·         Time spent on activities that only benefit the membership of a religious organization cannot be counted as community service hours. Examples include but are not limited to:

o   Working with youth groups

o   Acting as a host or greeter

o   Creating religious materials

o   Fundraising for a religious organization

·         Religious instruction cannot be counted as community service unless it is part of a community interfaith educational program.

·         Time spent serving with a religious organization on activities that benefit a wider population can be counted as service hours (ex. serving dinner to hungry members of the community through your church).

Homecoming

·         Time spent preparing for any of the Homecoming competitions cannot be counted as community service hours.

·         Activities not related to the competitions may qualify as community service. Examples include but are not limited to:

o   Working at Harvest Carnival (time spent cooking chili, making a game, etc. cannot be counted)

o   Holding a sign in the Sea of Orange Parade

o   Cleaning windows after judging has taken place

Service-Learning Courses and Internships

·         Students may count service hours that are completed outside of the classroom in conjunction with a service-learning course.

·         Unpaid internships completed at a 501(c)(3) can be counted as community service, even if they are a required component of a student’s coursework.

·         Time spent shadowing without performing a task cannot be counted as community service hours.

·         Hours spent on student-teaching can be counted as community service hours.

Summer Camps

·         Unpaid hours completed while working for a summer camp can be counted as community service. Students cannot include time spent sleeping, eating, showering, etc. unless they were on-call.

·         Being an adult leader for a group that attends camp or providing religious instruction cannot be counted as community service.

Civic Engagement

·         Time spent promoting or campaigning for a political candidate/party/ideal can be counted as community service hours.

·         Voter registration drives can be counted as community service.

·         Serving as an advocate for a social issue can be counted as community service.

Blood Drives

·         Donating or attempting to donate blood counts as one community service hour.

·         Assisting with the functioning or marketing of a blood drive can be counted as community service.

 

Students that have questions about where their hours fall may contact the Student Volunteer Center by email (volunteer.center@okstate.edu) or by phone (405-744-5145). In the event that your hours are denied and you believe that those hours should have been approved, you may contact the Student Volunteer Center. The SVC reserves the right to approve/deny hours at the office's discretion and to change the above guidelines as needed.