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The Impact of Student Volunteering

Edwards et al.

Who Is Being Served? The Impact of Student
Volunteering on Local Community Organizations

Bob Edwards
Linda Mooney
East Carolina University
Carl Heald
North Carolina State University

This research investigated how local community-based and nonprofit organizations ben-
efit from cooperation with community-based learning (CBL) initiatives such as service
learning, internships, and volunteering. By examining data from local organizations
that cooperate with a campus-based student volunteer program, the authors empirically
assessed the extent to which local organizations benefit from cooperation with CBL initia-
tives. The data enabled comparisons of the relative contributions of university student
volunteers and off-campus volunteers recruited from the larger community. The authors
found that student volunteers constitute a substantial pool of volunteer labor for local
organizations, yet they play different roles than community volunteers, roles that vary by
organizational form. Student volunteers are generally the least likely to provide or help
plan and coordinate services compared with community volunteers. These differences
can be offset by a modest amount of training for student volunteers. The findings do not
support the notion that students are used exclusively for routine tasks.

The rapid pace of change currently under way in America’s colleges and uni-
versities has sparked a wide-ranging and often heated public debate about the
social role and responsibilities of higher education in American society and
how best to prepare students to meet the challenges ahead. Eleven years ago,
in his influential Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate, Boyer
(1990) called on American colleges and universities to rethink the priorities of
the professorate and reorient faculty reward structures to facilitate a broad-
ened definition of scholarship and increased attentiveness to undergraduate
Note: We wish to thank Judy Baker, director of the Student Volunteer Program, for her cooperation
and assistance in making this project possible. Robert Daglish, Ellis George, and Henry Parker
also contributed to this project as students in Sociology 4201: Seminar in Applied Social Research
during the spring 1996 semester. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their construc-
tive criticism and helpful suggestions. Correspondence concerning this article should be directed
to Bob Edwards, Department of Sociology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 3, September 2001 444-461
© 2001 Sage Publications


2000. An increasing number of universities are responding to this situation by pursuing a variety of community-based learning (CBL) initiatives. liberal arts colleges in economically distressed urban areas to state-supported land grant and research institutions. CBL refers to any pedagogical tool in which the community becomes a partner in the learning process (Mooney & Edwards. From small. Marullo. 2000). 1997). Gray. do. 2000. 1999). schools nationwide are tackling these challenges head-on (cf. Ondaatje.7% increase over the previous year. Marullo & Edwards. 1994. the highest recorded level of volun- teering to date (Independent Sector. our research had a modest but important goal: to determine to what extent and how off-campus constituencies benefit from cooperation with CBL initiatives. private. 2000). & Osborne. Hinck & Brandell.. Thus. 1996. Osgood. Chapin 1998. We focused on one type of off-campus CBL partner: community organizations that cooperate with a campus-based student volunteer pro- gram. Waterman. Proponents of CBL initiatives fre- quently claim that an exclusive reliance on traditional classroom pedagogies cannot address the problems educators face and that the preparation of col- lege students must include more practical and experience-based learning. the number of college students who volunteer has also increased. Games. 2001). do” and was popularized in the 1960s . in part as a consequence of the growing involvement of universities in CBL initiatives (Bringle et al. including service learning (Bringle. Moreover. LITERATURE REVIEW STUDENTS AS VOLUNTEERS Over 100 million Americans volunteered in 1998. the growing research on the impact of service learning and CBL programs focuses almost exclusively on programs’ effects on students. This volunteer workforce devoted over 19 bil- lion hours of unpaid labor to the nation. 2000. Ward & Wolf-Wendell. research assessing the effectiveness of service learning and other CBL options often lacks the systematic evidence required of more rigorous evaluation research (Buchen & Fertman. The impacts on communities. Hinck & Brandell. 2000. 2000). Not surprisingly. Ward & Wolf-Wendell.. Fricker. 2000. Experiential learning stems from Dewey’s (1938) educational emphasis on “do. we empirically assessed the extent to which they benefit from their employment of student volunteers. 2000). Moreover. Ludlum. Edwards & Marullo. clients. representing a 13. & Geschwind. and the nonprofit organizations under whose direction students per- form much of their service have been neglected (Bringle et al.The Impact of Student Volunteering 445 education. 2000. Yet. our data enabled some comparisons of the different roles played by student volunteers and other volunteers recruited from the larger community. By examining data from a sample of local organizations.

229) and peak later in the life course between the ages of 35 and 55 (Independent Sector. these benefits are not described in the litera- ture.. . For example.. Black and Kovacs (1999) found that the most senior volunteers (those over the age of 75) were significantly more likely to be assigned to nondirect services (e. 2000). 771) . 2000. The research literature on the effects of service learning offers an interest- ing view of what researchers value. Campus Compact has over 600 institu- tional members offering over 12. Rothman. Campus Compact was formed. Despite the popularity of such initiatives. and. in 1985. 75. As Ward and Wolf-Wendell (2000) commented.000 college courses in which student volun- teering is an integral component (Bringle et al.1% reported performing community service as part of a class requirement (Astin. . and Headstart. 46% of people aged 18 to 24 volunteered (Independent Sector. However.3% of college freshmen reported performing volunteer work in the previous year. clerical functions. The emphasis in this literature is almost exclusively on outcomes (mostly positive) that service learning has on and for students. Noting that “the roles that volunteers perform appeared to be the one clear characteristic that distinguished volunteers by age.” Black and Kovacs (p. Anderson. 1998). Tschirhart. the volunteer activities of college- aged students are relatively underresearched (Rosenthal. fund-raising) compared with younger partici- pants. 2000. 2000). Today. However. 1998). Volunteers in Service to America. & Lewis. Although the community stands to benefit from community service. 2000). comparatively little research examining the impact of CBL programs on off-campus constituents exists. & Schaefer. p. Age is related not only to the likelihood of volunteering but also to the spe- cific roles volunteers play within organizations.g. volunteers most often participate in direct services such as serving food or providing transpor- tation services (Independent Sector.446 Edwards et al. the likelihood of volunteering “tends to fall during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood” (Wilson. in a study of hospice vol- unteers. 495) concluded that the relationship between age and volunteer roles war- rants further investigation. and 51. Although some evidence suggests that the “typical” service-learning student is under the age of 26 (Gray et al. 2000).. 1998). (p. INATTENTION TO OFF-CAMPUS OUTCOMES The body of literature on the curricular benefits of CBL programs and their impacts on students is growing rapidly and has been reviewed elsewhere (see Mooney & Edwards. especially among the community organizations through which students perform their service. The National Center for Public Service Internship Programs was founded in 1971. 2001). Feiring. This is particularly surprising given that in 1999. as student activism spilled over to such government programs as the Peace Corps. . 2000.

32). p. RAND Education.” with little or no evidence to support their conclusions (Tucker. ranking LSAHE volunteers as more effective than nonstudent vol- unteers and volunteers from non-LSAHE schools. Some authors have simply stated effects. Organization staff members reported that they were extremely satisfied with the contributions of student volunteers. access to college or university re- sources. observing that many such programs “make modest contributions in the form of service projects.. 2000.The Impact of Student Volunteering 447 Possible benefits to participating community organizations include an ex- panded pool of uncompensated labor. and en- hanced organizational capacity (Bowman. 842). enhanced public awareness of organizational or constituent needs. Gray et al. The importance of empirically assessing the mix of organizational costs and benefits bears directly on the continuation of partnerships between uni- versities and community organizations. 1999). Hoxmeier. 2000. 2000.e. . community agencies will lose interest in working with students and service-learning programs will languish for lack of a client base. & Lenk. campus-based pro- grams must provide benefits to communities and community agencies that exceed the cost of their participation in the program. Driscoll. Prentice & Garcia. 876). . Roschelle. For example. We have found one notable and quite recent exception to the pattern of inat- tention to off-campus outcomes. and Elias (2000). 88). In fact. They concluded that students make “lasting contributions” to the organizations they serve. com- menting on the lack of research on CBL student contributions to community organizations. Gray and colleages (2000) investigated the impact of Learn and Serve America. Brandon and Knapp (1999) speculated on the effectiveness of preprofessional collabora- tions (i. the preemployment opportunity to evaluate and train potential staff members. 5). For service-learning and other CBL programs to continue to find willing community partners. Higher Education (LSAHE) programs on students and the organizations in which they volunteered. 1996. improved organization-community relations. 1998. & Kerrigan.. Holland. If the problems associ- ated with hosting or coordinating the work of student volunteers out- weigh the benefits. Waterman (1997) argued that “it is not likely that positive outcomes in other categories could be achieved in the absence of evidence that the student’s efforts result in contri- butions to the community” (p. increased publicity.” many of which “culminated in valuable prod- ucts for the community” (p. 1998. Others use logic. (Gray et al. McCar- thy. [and] offer temporary internship assistance for discrete tasks. LSAHE volunteers . Using RAND Education data collected over a 3-year period. internships). Gelmon. “The organization benefits from the student’s work.. The studies that do examine the impact of CBL programs on community or- ganizations often rely on anecdotal evidence. Turpin. for example. . p. assessed student impact “by using examples from student pa- pers and field-journals” (p.

the SVP publishes a pamphlet entitled SVP Volunteer Opportunities. Emerald City (population 55. and other CBL initiatives. which lists the names. addresses. researchers must collect system- atic data from participating organizations. an increasing number of MAU students have provided voluntary services to community organiza- tions. culture. health care. MAU formalized funding for the SVP. In this investigation. Although each of these studies has made a valuable contribution to the understanding of the effects of CBL programs on cooperating organizations. and phone numbers of cooperating community organi- zations as well as descriptions of volunteer opportunities and the extent of any . and. practicums. education. Rather. Each year. which is the poor- est and most economically distressed part of the state. extracurricular activities. which contains seven much smaller municipalities. which has intensified since the founding of its medical school in the 1970s. MAU has a long track record of service to the region. and classes. the research presented here did not focus exclusively on student volunteers affiliated with a large national service program. In 1994. weaknesses included a lack of availability and scheduling difficulties because of the con- flicting demands of jobs. since 1988. Originally founded as a teachers’ college. continued investigation of these questions must follow the lead of the RAND Education (1999) study. which has led to increased on-campus demand for internships. Emerald City is a regional center for commerce.000) is the hub of Emerald County (population 110.448 Edwards et al.000 students and is the city’s largest employer. we used sur- vey data from a sample of community and nonprofit organizations (N = 39) to do just that. In contrast to the RAND Education study of LASHE programs. were thought to be as effective as paid staff members. First. The SVP facilitates student volunteering in a variety of ways. providing a regular budget for a part-time faculty coordinator and two part-time graduate assistant sup- port staff members. To better understand the activities and effectiveness of student volunteers compared with other service groups such as organization staff members and community volunteers. the SVP is a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. This spurred rapid institutional expansion during the 1980s and 1990s. coastal plain of a mid-Atlantic state. many of these efforts have been facilitated by the MAU Student Volunteer Program (SVP). The strengths of LSAHE student volunteers included enthusiasm and interpersonal skills. METHOD BACKGROUND Situated on the predominantly rural. it explored the impact of student volunteers on community organizations in a typical college town.000). Recently. and a range of social services for the surrounding 29-county rural region. Mid-Atlantic Univer- sity (MAU) enrolls approximately 18. especially among professional schools and vocational programs.

Many students find their own volunteer opportuni- ties independent of the SVP. Finally. By the time of this study. were less likely to respond than organizations closer to campus. it was found that approximately 77% of MAU students who volunteered dur- ing the fall 1996 semester had registered with the SVP. Respondents were directors (69%). Third. groups located further from the university. Significant differences (p ≤ . THE SAMPLE AND SURVEY At the time of this research. the local volunteer coordinating center has identified 75 organizations in Emerald City and Emerald County seeking to recruit volunteers. McPherson and Rotolo (1995) used a triangulated data collection strategy to research the same population of 128 face-to-face volun- tary associations to assess the relative reliability of organizational surveys. a university group liability policy covers all students who do register with the SVP. the SVP also offers faculty members a way of documenting that students have fulfilled any class-related volunteer obligations. However. coordinating 1. on graduation. MAU students who want to volunteer are not limited to these options. Recently. no comprehensive directory of local commu- nity organizations or listing of volunteer opportunities was available. obtain letters confirming their cumulative volunteer activities over the course of their college careers. especially those in outlying parts of Emerald County. Second. During the spring of 1996. students who work through the SVP can. 1997) and comparable to the RAND Education (1999) study dis- cussed above.341 hours in 56 different agencies dur- ing the semester preceding the collection of the data used here. Increasingly. interviews with group officials. but the center makes no claim that this is a comprehensive enumeration of all such opportunities. the SVP had become well established at MAU and in the community at large. questionnaires were mailed to the directors of all 56 organizations listed in the then-current issue of SVP Volun- teer Opportunities.10) were found on only 4 of 23 variables. People responding on behalf of the organizations examined in this study held varying positions in the organizations. Most notably. .915 student volunteers for a total of 10. They found that surveys completed by a knowledgeable organizational representative provided equally reliable data as either of the other sources they examined. In a separate study of volunteering among MAU students. which is rather high for organizational sur- veys (Smith. Cur- rently. 1997). the SVP does not coordinate all volunteering done by MAU students. Despite a growing profile on campus.The Impact of Student Volunteering 449 required training. and canvasses of group members. Thirty-nine questionnaires were returned for a 70% response rate. researchers use surveys as a means of gathering organiza- tional data. Follow-up letters were sent to nonresponding directors within 2 weeks of the initial distribution. A comparison of respondent and nonrespondent organizations using independent data derived from organizational attributes listed in SVP Volunteer Opportunities found no systematic nonresponse bias that was judged capable of invalidating the data (Smith.

Slightly more than half (53%) of the organizations’ funding comes from a combination of grants from government agencies. with a mean of 255 per organization and a median of 100. 4 paid staff members. WHAT PROPORTION OF VOLUNTEERS WERE STUDENTS? Directors were asked to estimate the total number of volunteers their orga- nizations had employed between August 1995 and December 31. the survey design used in this study was adequate for the exploratory purposes of this research.000). On the basis of median values. local. the American Cancer Society). 3 interns or volunteer staff members. and donations from local businesses. The bottom rows of Table 2 display these results.. 1998). FINDINGS PROFILE OF COOPERATING ORGANIZATIONS More than half of the 39 organizations sampled were described by their directors as independent.000 in cash and in-kind support during its most recent fiscal year (M = $78. Table 3 pro- files the typical sources of funding for the groups sampled.932 volunteers. Surprisingly. 51% (SD = 36) of all volunteers were MAU students.g. roughly corresponding with the university semester. and the remaining groups are publicly funded either by their affiliations with MAU. Table 2 pres- ents demographic attributes of the organizations examined. On average. Although a multisource data collection strategy would have undoubtedly provided more thorough and fine-grained data. The 39 respondent groups estimated a total of 9. the typical organization was about 10 years old in 1996 and was formally incorporated with 501(C3) tax-exempt status. the data include no churches or religious organizations despite the presence of at least 250 places of worship in Emerald City and Emerald County (see Chapin. grants from private sources including foundations and the United Way. Using these reports. and administrators (14%). we estimated that 5. coordinators (17%). or regional organizations (see Table 1). and had raised just less than $31. public schools. 1995.065 students (roughly 28% of all MAU students) .450 Edwards et al. The typical orga- nization had a 16-member board of directors. or local government. Just over one quarter (26%) are local or regional affiliates of statewide or national organizations (e. The mean percent- age of revenue derived from each of nine distinct sources is listed. The Salvation Army was the only such organization listed on the SVP roster of participating organizations and was among the 17 groups that did not complete the survey.

000 Total volunteers in past 6 months — — 255 100 Percentage of students among total volunteers — — 51 50 Table 3.403 $10.3 3 Has members (number of members) 44 56 545.700 Total in-kind contributions last year — — $28. etc.534 $20. student volunteers constitute a substantial labor pool for the commu- nity groups sampled and make roughly equal contributions as community volunteers.) 1 Other sources 12 Total (N = 31) 100 volunteered in the 39 responding organizations during the fall 1995 semester. coupon books. Clearly. Percentage of Funding by Source Type of Funding Percentage From Source Grants from government agencies 23 Grants from private foundations 20 Donations from churches or religious organizations 4 Donations from local business 10 Donations from individuals 9 Membership dues 3 Special fund-raising events (walk-a-thons.3 4 Has interns or unpaid staff members (number of volunteer staff members) 72 28 9.4 40 Total funds raised last year — — $49.) 18 Merchandise sales (T-shirts. etc. Types of Cooperating Organizations Type of Organization Frequency Percentage Independent local or regional organization 22 58 Local or regional affiliate of a statewide or national organization 10 26 University-based organization 3 8 Local government agency or public school 3 8 Total 38 100 Table 2.6 16 Has paid staff members (number of employees) 87 13 22. Attributes of Cooperating Community Organizations Percentage Percentage Attribute Yes No Mean Median Age of organization (years) — — 14 10 Formally incorporated 84 16 — — 501(C3) status 78 22 — — Has board of directors (number of board members) 82 15 19. .The Impact of Student Volunteering 451 Table 1.

This same general pattern held for providing assistance to the six client populations. and organization staff members. recruiting. organizations were most likely to use paid staff members and least likely to use student volunteers to accomplish these orga- nizational tasks. and training new volunteers. community volunteers. . adults. student volun- teers received high marks for being reliable and respectful.66 Note: Data reported here apply to only students volunteering through the Student Volunteer Pro- gram. 1 = definitely false.59 Provide a valuable service to our organization 4. directors were some- what less favorable when asked about student contributions of service provi- sion capacity and fund-raising. a. AND CLIENT POPULATIONS SERVED Do students and community volunteers make equally substantive contri- butions to host organizations? Table 4 presents mean responses to a bank of questions whereby directors evaluated the impacts of student volunteers on their organizations.74 Are important to the operations of our organization 4. Two general assessments stand out. Respondents were asked to indicate which of the three service groups typi- cally performed four organizational tasks: office work. Table 5 presents these results. To explore this further. but they were less likely to work with the other four client populations. Respondents rated students highly for providing valuable services to their organizations and for being important to organizational operations. grade school students. However. Table 4. or student volunteers pro- vided services to six different client populations: preschoolers.36 Have reported to assignments promptly 4. TASKS DONE.17 Make an important contribution to our organization’s ability to provide services 3. community volunteers. Students were more likely than com- munity volunteers to provide services to preschoolers and equally likely to assist grade school students.80 Make an important contribution to our organization’s fund-raising activities 2. THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT CONTRIBUTIONS.51 Have been reliable in completing their responsibilities 4. First. Across the board. staff members were also most likely to provide assistance to all client groups. Without exception. information dissemi- nation. and people with disabilities.452 Edwards et al. teens. Evaluations of Student Volunteers by Organization Directors a Student Volunteers Mean Score Have been respectful to our staff and clients 4. 5 = definitely true. we compared the kinds of tasks performed by student volunteers. seniors. Student volunteers made important but apparently not critical contributions to these community organizations. We also examined the types of client populations served. They were also asked whether staff members.

with the exception of planning trans- portation activities. Table 7 presents the resulting matrix. 14 scales were created to measure the extent to which each service group participated in planning and coordinating activities. health. rou- tine office work. To further examine the mix of activities and services undertaken by the three service groups. recreation. Services Provided by Staff Members. providing various types of services (educational. social. and teens). community volunteers. Student volunteers were most likely to be involved in fund-raising activities and recreational service provision. health.The Impact of Student Volunteering 453 Table 5. and student volunteers) usu- ally participated in providing six types of services: fund-raising. children. The results suggest that an apparent division of labor existed between the planning of organizational activities and office work among local . Percentage of organizations providing such services in which staff members.). and serving different client populations (adults and seniors. for which community volunteers predominated. and student volunteers provided each type of service. with the exception of transportation services. and transportation services. education. etc. Column 2 of Table 6 displays these results. social. Community organizations employed student volunteers even less frequently in more sub- stantive and responsible activities such as planning and coordinating the pro- vision of services. Staff members were most likely to provide all six types of services. Column 1 of Table 6 dis- plays these results. community vol- unteers. LEVEL OF STUDENT INVOLVEMENT COMPARED WITH STAFF MEMBERS AND COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS Directors were also asked to indicate whether each of the three service groups (staff members. in which neither group played much of a role. The resulting 14 scales were correlated with one another. Community Volunteers. recre- ational. and Student Volunteers Percentage Percentage Percentage Staff Community Student a a a Type of Service Provided Members Volunteers Volunteers Office work 90 53 45 Information dissemination 86 61 31 Teaching volunteer training sessions 88 28 0 Recruiting other volunteers 92 54 32 Working with preschool children 80 53 67 Working with grade school students 75 70 70 Working with teens 86 64 82 Working with adults 91 57 39 Working with seniors 77 68 55 Working with people with disabilities 87 70 61 a. The gap between student and community volunteer involvement in planning and coordinating was substantially more pronounced than the gap between student and com- munity volunteer provision of services.

10). they were also more likely to do office work (.10). they were also less likely to do office work (–. the correlations between planning activities and office work suggest that community volunteers did such work under the direction of staff mem- bers.10).31. When organization staff members planned activities.70.10). Percentage of organizations providing such services in which student volunteers.454 Edwards et al. when commu- nity volunteers planned activities. community volunteers.64.33.10) but more likely to perform routine office tasks (.31. we noted that community and student volunteers tended not to perform routine office work in the same organizations (–. p ≤ . First. community volunteers were less likely to also plan (–. Second. p ≤ .05). . whereas when community volun- teers provided broader ranges of services. when staff members provided broader varieties of service types. p < . p ≤ . p ≤ .40.31. but student volunteers were more likely to do so (. whereas students played supportive roles under the direction of com- munity volunteers. Moreover. and staff members participated in and/or planned or coordinated each type of ser- vice. Table 6.05).41.05). organizations. and stu- dents were more likely to do so (. p ≤ . p ≤ . Level of Involvement and Type of Service Participated in Participated in a a Activity Providing Services Planning and Coordinating Fund-raising Student volunteers 72 34 Community volunteers 94 74 Staff members 97 88 Recreational services Student volunteers 70 57 Community volunteers 70 74 Staff members 87 87 Educational services Student volunteers 48 25 Community volunteers 55 47 Staff members 90 97 Health-related services Student volunteers 27 24 Community volunteers 54 44 Staff members 96 96 Social services Student volunteers 41 19 Community volunteers 41 50 Staff members 88 81 Transportation services Student volunteers 18 6 Community volunteers 41 12 Staff members 36 94 a.05). By contrast. p ≤ . The same pattern held for student volunteers as well (. community volunteers were less likely to do office work (–.30. p ≤ .

37.10) and services to adults and seniors (. Our discussion is organized around three issues: (a) differ- ences in costs and benefits to local community organizations of using student volunteers. p ≤ . Honnet. When students were involved in planning and coordinating.10) suggests that students often worked under the direction of community volunteers.30. CBL initiatives will encounter difficulty recruiting community partners for student volunteer initiatives. Simply stated. adults and seniors (. and to what extent.The Impact of Student Volunteering 455 The relationship between planning and service provision suggests the con- tours of a similar division of labor.38. and children and teens (. In the explor- atory research presented here. community volunteers were less likely to plan activ- ities (–. (b) differences in the roles and activities of student versus commu- nity volunteers. . especially on the community organizations that employ uni- versity student volunteers (Giles. p ≤ .10). Emerald City nonprofit directors viewed student volunteers in a rather positive light as respectful.10). The positive relationships between community volunteer involvement in planning and student provision of both broader ranges of services (. from the generalized promotion of student volunteering.10) but more likely to provide broader ranges of service types (. and (c) differences between organizational forms (affiliated versus nonaffiliated organizations) in the use of volunteers.34. are student volunteers worth the trouble? If not.41.42. it tended to be in organizations where staff members were also involved directly in service provision: range of ser- vices (.35. see Mooney & Edwards. DIFFERENCES IN COSTS AND BENEFITS OF STUDENT VOLUNTEERS The impact on community organizations raises the important issue of whether the opportunity costs of employing student volunteers exceed the benefits provided by them. By contrast. & Migliore. we sought to help establish a baseline for fur- ther discussion and research into how community organizations use student volunteers and the benefits derived from cooperative relationships with campus- based programs. Yet. 2001). p ≤ .05) and more likely to provide services to children and teens (. researchers have paid scant attention to the off-campus impacts of such initiatives. p ≤ . 1991). When staff members were more involved in the planning of activities. A growing body of research indicates that such initiatives have positive effects on students and the quality of learning (for a review and synthesis.05). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The increasing popularity of CBL initiatives among institutions of higher education raises pertinent questions about who benefits.35. p ≤ . prompt. community volunteers apparently planned and coordi- nated services provided by students independent of direct staff member involvement. p ≤ .10). p ≤ . p ≤ .

31* — 7. recreational. Type.16 –. Student volunteers work in office –.01 . etc. Student volunteers plan activities –.456 Table 7. Community volunteers provide services to adults and seniors .31* –.33* .43** . etc.41** –.14 –. social.42** –.14 — 5.30* — 3.10 .20 — 8.10 — Service for specific client groups 9.26 –. Staff members provide service types (educational. Community volunteers work in office .02 . recreational.31* –.64** –.37* –.12 –.07 .37* .06 –. and Client Population Among Emerald City Community Organizations Planning and Supportive Range of Service Coordinating Office Work Types Provided Service for Specific Client Groups Service Group.30 — 10.16 — Supportive office work 4.06 –.) –. recreational. Students provide services (educational. Community volunteers provide service types (educational.25 .35** –.41** — Range of service types provided 6.03 –.17 . Staff plans activities — 2. social. etc.04 — . Correlations of Service Group.) .22 .) –.70** –.01 .70* .06 . and Clients 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Planning and coordinating 1. Staff members provide services to adults and seniors .01 .40** .09 .01 .23 –.04 . social. Type.33* –.20 –. Community volunteers plan activities –.

10 .20 .04 .14 .26 . Community volunteers provide services to children and teens –.21 .44** — 13.06 .25 –.05.12 . 457 .19 .16 –.10. 11.39** — 12.13 .15 .00 .02 . **p ≤ .09 –.08 .02 — 14.30 .17 .41** .38* .19 .11 .01 .07 .35* –.43** –. Staff members provide services to children and teens .16 .17 .31 .49** –.01 –.03 –.34 .12 –.34* . Students provide services to children and teens .50** *p ≤ .12 –.02 .22 .06 –.51** .06 . Students provide services to adults and seniors .

However. students who volunteer in college may well become community volunteers later in their life courses. they served younger client popu- lations more often than their community counterparts (Table 5). there has been some concern that “community orga- nizations fail to acknowledge the important roles they could play in educating students. Students most frequently participated in fund-raising activities and providing recre- ational services. grade school students. Although this research clearly indicates that student volunteers less fre- quently plan and coordinate service delivery than their community counter- parts. the length of training also predicts increased involvement in planning and coordinating services (. with a median of 2 hours being more typical. Indeed. p ≤ . p ≤ . that . Despite the relatively high turnover. they clearly constitute a substantial volunteer labor pool for participating community organizations.05) and to adults and seniors (.05). p. DIFFERENCES IN STUDENT AND COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS Black and Kovacs (1999. part-year residence. and teens. More- over. instead using students to do menial and repetitive tasks” (p.458 Edwards et al. The length of required training was positively related to increased student involvement in providing services to children and teens (. As Rubin (1996) noted. 495) called for greater attention to age-related patterns in volunteering. we found evidence that any ten- dency to channel students into less substantive tasks because of perceived inexperience can largely be overcome by required training.61. We found that university students were more likely to provide services to client populations younger than themselves: preschool- ers. These were also the two activities that students were more likely to help plan and coordinate. The length of such training ranged from 30 minutes to 56 hours. p ≤ .27. we found no evidence that students participate exclusively in unchallenging or menial tasks. 305).53.44. Moreover. Our research indicates that student volunteers are usually assigned to less sub- stantive roles than their community volunteer counterparts. Students provide an infusion of volunteer labor that helps sustain the local nonprofit sector and enables the provision of services that might not otherwise be possible. 92% of these organizations reported that they would “defi- nitely” use student volunteers in the coming school year. there may be subse- quent indirect benefits to the broader nonprofit sector. p ≤ .05) and doing office work (. and scheduling difficulties characteristic of college students. and important to and valuable in providing services to their organiza- tions. Thus. Two thirds (68%) of organizations required students to complete some form of training prior to volunteering. Apart from the direct and immediate benefits to participating organizations. Preliminary analyses of data on 1st-year MAU students indicate that a prior history of volunteering in high school was one of the strongest predictors of volunteering during their first semester at MAU.05). reliable. In fact.

national organizations such as the Special Olympics or the Red Cross often coordinate special events.3 times as likely (p ≤ . or by community volunteers working under the general direction of staff members. A key variable differentiating between these two patterns in how community organizations use student volunteers is whether commu- nity volunteers are involved in planning and coordinating organizational activities.6 times as likely (p ≤ . Affiliation provides local organiza- tions access to resources enabling them to supply accessible leadership oppor- tunities for potential volunteers more readily than their nonaffiliated counter- parts. and 1. The national offices provide local affiliates with ample materials to guide local planners and coordinators who may well have had the opportu- nity to learn the event “from the ground up” by volunteering in prior years. the results presented here sketch two somewhat distinct patterns in how community organizations use student volunteers. students make important contributions to cooperating organizations and the constituencies they serve.6 times as likely (p ≤ . nationwide on an annual basis. students have increased opportunity to gain experience . In such organizations. staff members plan and coordi- nate various service activities. The first describes a staff-run organization in which volunteers fill service gaps not fully covered by paid staff members. Compared with nonaffiliates. Although student volunteers typically play supportive roles assisting staff members and community volunteers or working under their general supervi- sion. community volunteers plan and coordinate activities carried out by either community volunteers with the assistance of students or students working under the general direction of com- munity volunteers. who sometimes work with the assistance of student volun- teers.The Impact of Student Volunteering 459 gap narrows markedly when organizations invest in a modest amount of required training.05) to plan and coordinate fund-raising activities. We found some evidence that the local affiliates of national nonprofit orga- nizations are more likely than their nonaffiliated counterparts to rely on com- munity volunteers to plan activities and coordinate student volunteers.05) to plan and coordinate health services. Such cultural and experiential resources facilitate the endeavors of affiliated organizations in ways not as readily available to nonaffiliated organizations. which must organize such events and build community awareness of them from scratch. the local affiliates were 2. In organizations that provide modest amounts of training. The services are then provided either directly by staff members. which may well have greater needs for volunteer leaders. In the second arrangement. including fund-raising activities. For example. the contributions of university student volunteers more than offset any opportunity costs incurred by participating organizations. In conclusion.05) to plan and coordinate educational services. 2. DIFFERENCES IN ORGANIZATIONAL FORM Overall.

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