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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|GU Students Volunteer 100,000 Hours in 2005-06|
Sima Thorpe, director of CCASL, said 2,822 students (more than 68 percent of all GU undergraduate students last school year) contributed a total of 97,813 hours of community service during the year, including 1,026 students who worked 20,058 hours in academic service-learning (community service work linked to a course or with an academic component). Service-learning is one of many service initiatives at Gonzaga.
*A total of 334 students contributed 28,020 service hours in the area of mentoring and tutoring (through Gonzaga’s Campus Kids, SMILE, Shaw Connection, Partners of Literacy and GAME programs).
*A total of 578 student volunteers contributed 42,200 service hours through CCASL’s co-curricular Service Programs (including Community Connections for the Homeless, Way of Heart, Reality Camp, April’s Angels and other programs).
* A total of 82 students contributed nearly 4,000 hours during their spring break in 2005 by taking part in volunteer work to help communities at six sites nationwide through the GU program known as Mission: Possible. The student volunteers and advisers traveled to St. Louis; San Antonio; Tacoma, Wash; Knoxville, Tenn; Clarksdale, Miss.; and Jonestown, Miss., to work on prearranged projects including housing rehabilitation, painting and other building repair initiatives, and work at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and other projects important to communities in those cities.
*More than 200 student volunteers contributed more than 1,600 service hours during the 2005-05 school year at Campus Kitchen at Gonzaga, which uses food that would have been discarded through Gonzaga’s food services and prepares and delivers food to the needy. Last year, the program provided more than 8,000 meals using more than 12,000 pounds of food that otherwise would have been wasted.
The Independent Sector, a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of approximately 500 national organizations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, announced in March that the estimated value of a volunteer hour in 2005 was $18.04. This number, up from 2004’s estimate of $17.55, provides charitable organizations with a useful tool to help quantify the immense contributions of volunteers.
The Independent Sector based its estimated value of volunteer work on the average wage for all non-management, nonagricultural workers as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is merely a tool and is but one method to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide to an organization and to its surrounding community.
Independent Sector estimates the total value of hours volunteered nationally in 2005 was equivalent to approximately $280 billion, assuming the total number of volunteer hours has remained constant from previous years. To find out more about the methodology used to arrive at the hourly figure, visit Independent Sector’s research Web page.
Students took advantage of the abundant volunteer opportunities that Gonzaga offers through CCASL, which also made several improvements to service-learning and volunteering at Gonzaga during the 2005-06 school year. Forty-eight academic service-learning courses were offered; Service Fest, the service-learning fair, was the largest GU has hosted with 74 community partners present. Approximately 80 percent of students who attended Service Fest responded that they left the event feeling that it was helpful in choosing a service-learning placement.
Also, GU service-learning is going international with programs in Zambia, Africa, Benin in West Africa, and Gonzaga-in-Florence (Italy), one of GU’s study-abroad program locations. Gonzaga is showing its strong support of service, a key component of the Gonzaga Mission, in many ways. Gonzaga now has a full-time mentoring programs coordinator, a critical position due to the extensive mentoring by Zags (as stated above).
In addition to the programs and initiatives mentioned, Gonzaga students took part in the Spokane Earth Day celebration, held a Spokane River clean-up, expanded GU Specialized Recreation with six Gonzaga-run Special Olympics teams, presented two dramatic productions, ran the Centerpointe Choir, and the Way of the Heart Retreat — among other activities.
A volunteer movement among college students, especially “Generation 9/11,” is sweeping the country. A federal study of college student volunteers recently released by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service found that 3.3 million U.S. college students volunteered in 2005, an increase of 20 percent, or 60,000 people, since 2002. Some believe one cause of this trend toward altruistic behavior is that current college students were in middle school or high school on Sept. 11, 2001 and have come of age in the post-9/11 America.
Other possible causes include the growth of service-learning on campuses and in K-12 schools, more schools offering or requiring student community service, and an increase in campus offices that connect students to volunteer opportunities.
For more information about CCASL or Gonzaga volunteer opportunities, contact Sima Thorpe, director of CCASL, at (509)323-6856 or or visit CCASL’s newly redesigned Web site.