BGSU, it’s time to log on and record your service hours.
The University has set itself a challenge of contributing a million hours of service this year in honor of its Centennial. To keep track of that, it’s important to go to the Centennial Service Challenge Web page and log your hours.
The challenge is open to faculty, staff, students, retirees and alumni. Volunteer hours can be recorded both individually and for groups and organizations. “All sorts of volunteer hours can be recorded. It can also be a great community-building activity for departments or groups, to set their own challenge,” said Dr. Jane Rosser, director of the Office of Service-Learning and coordinator of the Centennial service effort.
Hours can be added at any time till the end of the year, and weekly totals will be posted on Monday mornings. One strategy for timely tracking might be to set a personal email reminder for Fridays to log on and post any volunteer hours, or for groups to designate someone to be the poster.
Simply go to http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/service-learning/page76045.html and follow the links.
Student Paul Hemminger, a member of the service challenge organizing committee, said, “I believe that service is to be the core of our studies and our morality. It should be ingrained in each of us that service to the world and the community is needed, necessary, and mandatory for personal and collective growth. With six degrees of separation between each one of us, that should spur each soul to own our civic responsibility to care for one another through actions, words and simple smiles.”
“The BGSU community has always been active in civic engagement,” Rosser said. “This is a way to celebrate what we’re already doing but also to challenge ourselves to move to the next level. We can use this year as a time to think more long range about what we’d like to do as a campus and to demonstrate our commitment to public engagement.”
One advantage of the online recording system is that it will eventually yield a picture of the impact BGSU has in its communities, both on campus and off. The site asks for brief descriptions of the type of service provided and the area of impact, such as the elderly or disaster relief.
“People are active in their faith communities and their children’s schools. One of our committee members is going on a mission trip this spring and another is on the board of the Humane Society, for example,” Rosser said. “With our new system, we will be able to see who has benefitted from our work.”
Students will also be able to use the record of their service for scholarship and job applications, she added, or as part of BGSU’s new Leadership Certificate Program.
Rosser hopes the site will encourage the campus to strive for the national President’s Volunteer Service awards, which go to individuals and groups. The campus will hold a celebration event at the end of the year to recognize its volunteers’ efforts.
On a deeper level, Rosser said she hopes the challenge will encourage faculty and staff to talk about their own volunteerism with their students. “Many students don’t see us as whole people who are actively engaged,” she said. “If you talk about what you do and what you care about, you might inspire students to think about what they’re passionate about and to get involved.”
A service activities calendar with listings of volunteer opportunities is in the works and should be up shortly as part of the University’s main online calendar.
The community can share its service activities with others on the Centennial Memories site, http://memories.bgsu.edu/cm10/, where they can post photographs, emails, videos stories and more. “This is a fun way to share our experiences,” Rosser said.