Community Partner FAQs

What is the Community and Public Service Program?

The Community and Public Service Program (CPSP) provides volunteer opportunities for undergraduate students by collaborating with local non-profit or public organizations. The university’s goal is to foster values of community service and civic responsibility through student service. An organization who participates in this program has the opportunity to obtain student volunteers to provide necessary service for the organization.

CPSP enrolls between 500 - 700 students in the fall and spring semesters. These students come to our program looking for work experience, to fulfill requirements for advanced degree applications, because they have a history of service experience that they want to continue, and because they want or need the credits that our courses provide. No matter what the reason, students grow from their experience and organizations benefit from the additional supports the student provides.

How do I sign up with the Community and Public Service Program?

If you are interested in participating with the CPSP, complete a New Organization Application and submit it to CPSP via fax, mail or email. In addition, if you provide a flyer describing the volunteer opportunities with your organization, it will be posted on Facebook and our Wordpress blog for all students to reference when looking for an organization to volunteer at.  This will also be shared with our Student Involvement office who posts all volunteer opportunities to students on campus wishing to volunteer in our community either for credit or not.

If I have signed up, what can I expect / what is the process?

Once you have signed up with CPSP you become part of our database and this information is provided to students seeking a volunteer opportunity. Students are required to contact the organizations, discuss the expectations of a volunteer and if it feels like a good match, set up an appointment to meet for essential paperwork to be completed and confirming scheduling and expectations. Most students volunteer during the fall and spring semesters. Please also reference the “Information for Supervisors”  document under “What to Expect”.

What are student course requirements?

Students have the option of registering for RSSW190 which is a 1 credit course requiring 35 hours of volunteer service, RSSW291 which is a 2 credit course requiring 60 hours of volunteer service  or RSSW 290/RSSW 390 which are 3 credit courses requiring 100 hours of volunteer service. Students are initially required to identify the organization where they will be completing their community service and have the supervisor complete the Supervisor Permission Form. Within the first two weeks students are required to develop a Learning Contract which identifies three goals and is reviewed and signed by the student and their supervisor. Students taking RSSW290 are required to complete 6 journal entries, and 4 forms. Students taking RSSW291 are required to complete a  reflective essay and an electronic media project and 4 forms. Students taking RSSW 390 are to complete an introduction on Blackboard, selected readings, completion of three Blackboard activities, completion of 4 forms and an advanced critical essay commensurate with an upper-division course.  

What are my requirements as a supervisor?

As a supervisor you are responsible for helping the student identify their learning objectives for their experience. Set expectations and schedules, sign off on the learning contract, log of hours and complete a Supervisor Evaluation (link emailed to supervisor from student) at the end of the semester or student’s volunteer hours. For many of these students it is their first professional experience. Being clear about expectations around job performance and attendance is important.

Do I have to take every student that contacts me?

No, you do not need to take every student who calls. Consider your initial contacts with a student as an interview. It is your decision to decide if this student will be a good fit for the volunteer opportunity your organization has available.

If you all of the students needed in any given semester you are welcome to contact the office and share that information. Though it doesn’t fully prevent more students from contacting you, those of us in the office can make a note and direct students away from your organization for that semester.

What if a student is not performing well?

Most students want to have a positive volunteer experience. If a student is not performing well the expectation is for you to follow up with that student and address the performance as you would an employee. Providing clear expectations and feedback to the student will prove very beneficial. If this does not resolve the problem or the offence does not allow for resolution, we expect you to discuss this with the student, terminate them from volunteering with your organization and contacting the CPSP office to inform us of the situation.

What if I don’t have enough hours for a student?

Normally we expect an organization to provide enough activities to fulfill the class requirement. On occasion, students do split their hours between two organizations. If you want a student volunteer but do not have enough to keep a student actively engaged, be upfront with the student on the amount of hours you can provide and see if they are interested in finding a second organization to volunteer with.

Can I pay a student for their work?

Volunteer hours to fulfill the RSSW course requirements cannot be paid. If a student becomes a paid staff member at your organization you must have a plan in place with the student to ensure the separation of volunteer service and paid service.