Reproduced courtesy of UCR Today:
University of California, Riverside undergraduate students averaged 3.5 hours of volunteer or community service work per week, the most in the UC system, according to data drawn from the 2010 UC Undergraduate Experiences Survey (UCUES).
“UCR students are very deeply committed to service and bettering the society they live in,” said Tonantzin Osegura, assistant dean of students. “Our students don’t just talk about it, they let their actions speak for themselves.”
The UCUES report showed the system-wide average was 2.7 hours per week. The second-highest average among the nine undergraduate UC campuses was 3.2 hours per week. The survey also showed that 57% of UCR students served as volunteers, compared to a system-wide average of 51%. A total of 5,885 or UCR’s 16,232 undergraduate students participated in the 2010 UCUES.
In May, 2011, UC Riverside students were recognized by the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for volunteering more than 2.5 million hours during 2010.
Sophomore Shelley Brumbaugh, a media and cultural studies from Corona, said that she enjoys volunteering because it allows her to give back to the community and represent the university. Brumbaugh and her teammates from the UCR Women’s Soccer team have been working with Bill’s Special Kids in Moreno Valley to teach special needs children how to play soccer.
“Working with Bill’s Special Kids is probably the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had,” she said. “The kids are so pure and genuine.”
Junior math major Alexander Owens agreed about the importance of giving back to the community. “I will do all I can to make anyone’s experience here a positive one,” the Moreno Valley native said. “Also, by volunteering my time, especially within my fraternity, I hope to set an example for my peers to the same and get as many people involved with service as I can.”
Oseguera said that the majority of students averaged three to five hours of volunteer activity each month, some students regularly reached 20 hours or more. “This high level of service reflects the priority students place on service and how effective they are at balancing multiple life roles,” she said.
The university, which had a fall 2010 enrollment of 20,746, has 374 registered student organizations with 11,427 members, and many of these groups are devoted to community service.
“I think many UCR students, for various reasons, come to us already ‘pre-wired’ for volunteerism,” said Danny Kim, associate vice-chancellor in the Office of Student Affairs. “We attract students who are more likely to perform community service.”
Kim said that the annual Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey showed that a high percentage of UCR freshmen enter college with prior volunteer experiences and have the desire to participate in service while in school.
“Compared to national norms, a significantly greater percentage of UCR students deem community service as an essential or very important objective to possess as a college student,” Kim said.
The dedication of UCR students to give back to the community through service and volunteerism not only reflects highly upon the mission of the University but also provides an opportunity to build a strong community that is connected and engaged around civic life and leadership in Riverside.
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