CCE helps students in service efforts
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 02:10
The West Virginia University Center for Civic Engagement is building bridges between students and the local community through community service.
By providing resources necessary for volunteerism through iServe, and offering Service Learning Courses for WVU students, the CCE helps students find community service opportunities around the city.
Alexis McMillen, program coordinator at the CCE, said she believes being active with the CCE yields great benefits for WVU students.
"We have a lot of different programs, a lot of different initiatives and things that we do. It’s almost time for students to register for spring classes, and we have Service Learning courses, which are independent study courses where students can create their own learning service projects and work with a community partner I can refer them to or that they choose on their own," McMillen said. "It’s a variable credit class between 1-6 credit hours," she said.
McMillen said in service learning courses there are only a few class meetings. The rest of the time students are able to spend working on their service project.
"For some students, it’s a great way to get maybe what they would at an internship, but service learning courses focus on how students can meet specific learning outcomes from a course," she said.
The course also raises awareness about the impact of nonprofit organizations within the community.
"Students will have the opportunity to help inaugurate their problem-solving and decision-making skills by helping with
challenges in the community," she said. "They get exposure to working with people that the community agencies are serving."
McMillen said the course offers students a unique opportunity to pursue something they are passionate about outside the classroom.
"It’s a really unique course; there is not a lot of courses like it on campus. Where you can say, ‘I really want to go work with the American Cancer Society and help plan Relay for Life on campus.’ Well, you can absolutely do that, but not only can you get community service hours, but there’s a way to get school credit, as well," she said. "It’s really a great way to get experience toward your major."
As well as providing service learning courses, the CCE facilitates volunteerism throughout Morgantown.
The center utilizes the innovative online system iServe to organize service hours.
"The iServe system has been up and running for just over a calendar year, and we already have thousands of students doing thousands and thousands of hours. Currently, iServe has 370 organizations registered and approved," McMillen said.
"Part of my job here is to manage iServe, so that our community partners are not only prepared to take WVU students as
volunteers and service learners, but so they get the most out of that partnership."
McMillen said the CCE provides an opportunity for WVU students they may not be able to receive elsewhere.
"Compared to other institutions across the country, WVU, in a way, is doing a lot more with some things; we have a really unique community partner program, and essentially our mission is to provide learning experiences for students, but the cool thing we get to do is help the community while we do that," McMillen said.
"We really love promoting our partnerships with nonprofit agencies, and the fact that we can be the one stop shop for students who want to volunteer is extremely helpful. We can get you set up with everything you need."
For more information, visit cce.wvu.edu.