Campus: CSU Fresno -- November 28, 2005

Survey: Fresno State Students Join Others Nationwide in Contributing to Billions in Service to Communities

Every year, cities and towns throughout the United States receive billions of dollars worth of volunteer service from students who attend local colleges. According to one annual study, the 950 colleges and universities that are members of the Campus Compact – roughly one-third of the nation’s higher education campuses – accounted for more than $4 billion alone.

According to the 2004 Campus Compact Annual Member Survey, more than 30 percent of students participate in community service, averaging four hours of service a week. Using the latest Independent Sector figures (based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) for the value of volunteer work, these students contribute $2,246.40 each in service during the school year.

With 44 percent of member campuses responding, this figure can reasonably be extrapolated to a total of $4.45 billion in volunteer service contributed to local communities.

California State University, Fresno, was among the school that participated in this survey. In 2004-05 nearly 4,100 Fresno State students contributed over 171,000 hours of service to the community, representing $3 million work of volunteer service.

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • A majority of campuses report that service and/or civic engagement is part of their mission statement (89%) or strategic plan (84%);

  • Ninety-eight percent of campuses offered service-learning courses, which combine academic with community work, during the 2003-2004 academic year;

  • Campus-community partnerships have become common; 98 percent of reporting campuses have one or more such partnerships, with collaborations most commonly involving nonprofit organizations (95%), K-12 schools (90%), and faith-based organizations (62%)
Overall, the survey results show that service, service-learning and civic engagement have not only become a standard facet of the higher education experience but are continuing to advance. As an example, in the current semester, 70 courses at Fresno State include a service-learning component. These courses will engage more than 2,000 students in approximately 40,000 hours of service this fall alone.

In addition to annual data, this year’s survey includes five-year trend data showing consistent and impressive increases in engagement on campuses over time. For example, among campuses responding each year, the proportion of students involved in service increased from 33 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2004. Similarly, the proportion of campuses with a service or service-learning office increased from 75 percent to 92 percent between 2000 and 2004. During the same time period, the average number of faculty who teach service-learning courses nearly tripled, from 14 per campus to 40.

Support for civic and community-based programs on the part of college and university presidents also continues to climb. Over the last five years, presidents have increasingly written and spoken publicly about the importance of service and civic engagement, allocated funds for community-based programs, and hosted civic engagement conferences on their campuses. Last year, 86 percent of campuses reported that their president publicly promoted service and civic engagement, showing widespread commitment on the part of Campus Compact member presidents. Fresno State President Dr. John D. Welty has been a local and national leader with respect to advancing engagement efforts.

In addition to stepping up overall participation in service, students are also increasingly involved in decision-making and administrative processes that maintain service and civic engagement programs. Among other work, students serve on relevant committees (80%), work in community service/service-learning offices (73%), and act as liaisons to community agencies (67%). These results speak to how campuses are involving students in taking responsibility for their civic engagement activity, preparing them to be active members of our democracy.

For more information contained in this release, please go to the following Web sites:
Campus Compact and Member survey

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