Question: What is the Community and Public Service Program?
The Community and Public Service Program (CPSP) provide 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 250 – 350 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.
Question: How do I sign up with the Community and Public Service Program?
Answer: If you are interest in participating in our program complete a New Organization Application and submit it to CPSP via fax, mail or email. In addition, if you provide a flyer, brochure or business card the your information can be added to the “actively seeking” binder and posted in the office.
Question:If I have signed up, what can I expect / what is the process?
Answer: 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.
Question: What are student course requirements?
Answer: Students have the option of signing up for a 2 credit, 60 hour (SSW 291) or one of two 3 credit 100 hour courses (SSW 290 or 390). Students are initially required to identify the organization where they will be completing their community service and have the supervisor complete the 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 291 or 290 are required to complete a reflective essay or an electronic media project. Students taking 390 are required to read three articles and tie the information from the articles and their experience into a critical reflective essay. Course syllabuses can be found in the Forms and Documents
section of this web site.
Question: What are my requirements as a supervisor?
Answer: 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 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.
Question: Do I have to take every student that contacts me?
Answer: 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 doesnít 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.
Question: What if a student is not performing well?
Answer: 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.
Question: What if I don’t have enough hours for a student?
Answer: Normally we expect an organization to provide enough activities to fulfill the class requirement. On occasion students to 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.
Question: Can I pay a student for their work?
Answer: 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.
Question: Can the student transport clients or use organizations vehicles?
Answer: Because student’s auto insurance would not cover them, we do not permit students to drive organization vehicles or their own vehicles WITH ORGANIZATION CLIENTS IN THE CAR. If you ask a student to run errands in their own car however the student may ask about reimbursed for gas, parking, etc.