USM has compiled figures that help underscore the value of community service work in terms of building students’ resumes for life after graduation while strengthening communities throughout the region.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, more than 1,800 USM students logged a record 71,780 hours of volunteer community service. Another 3,176 students contributed 298,802 hours of work through unpaid internships with local companies or “service learning” courses that combine community service work with classroom instruction.
All told, these nearly 5,000 students provided more than 370,000 hours of service to businesses and non-profits valued at more than $6.2 million in 2011-2012. That figure is calculated using a formula developed by the Independent Sector, a nationwide coalition of nonprofits, foundations and corporate giving programs.
“You’ll hear me talk a lot about how a university should be known for community engagement,” said USM President Theo Kalikow. “Well, here’s a perfect example of how the university and external community together can give students real-world experiences that enrich their educations while adding value to the communities in which we live and work.”
More than 250 organizations, businesses, schools, community service organizations and municipalities benefitted from the services of students. One community partner, Tiffanie Panagakos, unit director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine at Riverton and Sagamore Satellite Program, calls USM student participation in her program, “amazing.” She explains that, “without the support of USM students we would not be able to give the children we serve the individual attention they deserve.”
Recent USM media studies graduate, Amanda Pleau, helped develop a social media communications plan for the local non-profit, Dress For Success, and continued to volunteer her time to the organization after her internship ended. Pleau also interned in the USM Public Affairs Office and wrote for USM’s student paper, publishing an article on “The quest for the perfect internship.” In that article about her internship experience she wrote, “I’m not only getting an education but actually preparing to join the workforce.” Pleau is currently employed by Tom’s of Maine, landing the job before her May graduation.
“This is a tremendous effort, not only by the students but also by USM faculty, staff and our community partners,” said Andrea Thompson McCall, director of USM’s Office of Community Service Learning. “What’s even more remarkable is that these figures do not tell the whole story,” added McCall, “because they reflect only the reported community-based work.”
To find out more about community service projects for your organization, call Andrea Thompson McCall at 207-228-8284. For student interns, contact Joseph Austin at 207-228-8258.