Students, faculty and staff sustain their commitment to serving others.
Over the past academic year, the George Washington University community has logged a record 251,868 community service hours. This is almost double the amount the university completed in 2010 when First Lady Michelle Obama challenged GW to complete 100,000 hours.
Amy Cohen, executive director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, attributes the rise to increased awareness of service, better recording of the hours and a continued dedication amongst students to serve their community.
“GW’s commitment to service continues to maintain or exceed the enthusiasm we had during the Michelle Obama challenge,” said Ms. Cohen. “We know GW students serve because it’s important to them. They come to GW civically engaged, and they stay civically engaged.”
The GW community records a large portion of its service hours through VolunteerMatch, a website that allows individuals to track their hours. Individuals who complete more than 100 hours earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which includes a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama, a certificate of achievement and a lapel pin. This year, 374 of the 1,239 users of GW’s VolunteerMatch logged more than 100 hours.
The Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service also directly reached out to various departments and organizations across GW this year to log the groups’ service hours. The center ensured there was no duplicate counting.
GW’s Panhellenic sororities, Interfraternity Council chapters and multicultural groups logged 60,533 hours, while the university’s 50 service-learning courses recorded 59,991. Freshman Day of Service included 8,000 hours, while MLK Day of Service produced 1,050 hours, not including hours that were recorded by individuals.
“GW is a university where civic engagement matters,” said Ms. Cohen. “Our faculty, staff and students regularly express their dedication to active citizenship through their scholarship, advocacy and service. A quarter of a million hours of service are one clear measure of the importance of community and civic engagement to the GW experience.”