Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I sign up for Community and Public Service?
Answer: Here are the steps you need to take. Stop by the office in SS112 and pick up a packet of forms. You can stop by anytime, the forms are on the door and available even when the office is closed. You can also get the forms from our web site, http://www.albany.edu/cpsp/. You will then need to identify an organization you would like to volunteer with and contact them for a meeting.
In the forms section of the web site is a listing of organizations by area of interest (also available in the office). If you need an on campus Organization, you will find a listing on the last page. If you have an organization in mind and they are not on our list, and if they are public or non-profit there is an organization form that they can complete to become affiliated with our program. When you meet with the Organization, they fill out the bottom portion of the Permission Form. You fill out the top and the entire Student Information Form. Return the completed paperwork to our office and we will then provide you with a permission number.
Question: When I identify an organization, then what?
Answer: You want to call the organization and identify yourself as a SUNY student who is interested in volunteering for 60 or 100 hours for a fall/spring/summer semester. You want to ask what a volunteer may be doing for the organization. You want to share your interests and strengths to see if you can provide a needed service to them. You want to make sure that the organization has enough work for you to fulfill your hours. If everything sounds like it will work out, set up an appointment to meet with your supervisor at the Organization to formalize your agreement and have them sign the bottom portion of the Permission Form.
Question: My class permission number is not working, what can I do?
Answer: Follow these directions:
• Open your MyUAlbany account and click on add/enroll.
• Add the course number through the add/enroll web page.
• Once you see the "Errors Found" message on the right side of the page, click on the link of the actual course number, e.g.. RSSW 290
• A new screen will open where you enter the permission number. Enter the number and submit the page; you will then be taken back to the previous web page with the "Errors Found" link.
• CLICK SUBMIT ONCE MORE and then a "SUCCESSFUL" message should replace "Errors Found".
Question: How many credits and what type of credits are available?
Answer: There are three courses that qualify for credits in the Community and Public Service Program. Three credits are given for RSSW 290 and RSSW 390, and two credits for RSSW 291. All three courses are graded S(atisfactory)/U(nsatisfactory). The courses are electives in all majors. RSSW290 and RSSW390 cannot be taken in the same semester.
Question: I'm a biology major, can I take RSSW 290, 291 or 390?
Answer: Yes, all three courses are available to students in any academic concentration or major. However, if you are an accounting major, credits from RSSW290, RSSW291 and/or RSSW390 are not as valid credits for your state accounting certification/license.
Question: When can I take RSSW 290, 291 or 390?
Answer: RSSW 291 is open to all but first semester freshman. RSSW 290 is open to all sophomores through seniors. RSSW 390 is open to all students who have completed RSSW 290. EACH COURSE MAY BE TAKEN ONLY ONE TIME.
Question: Can I take RSSW 390 before RSSW 290 or take both at once?
Answer: No. RSSW290 is a prerequisite for RSSW390 and must be taken in a prior semester. However, RSSW291 can be taken in conjunction with RSSW290 or RSSW390.
Question: Can I get an incomplete?
Answer: Incompletes need to be requested using the Incomplete Request Form, found in the Forms and Documents section, prior to the end of the semester. A student must complete at least half of their volunteer hours and have a plan on completing the remainder of the course requirements (i.e. hours and paperwork).
Question: Can I change organizations?
Answer: Students generally complete their volunteer hours for an entire course in one organization. Occasionally situations arise where this is not feasible. Cases are dealt with individually. Students or supervisors should contact CPSP staff as early as possible should a concern regarding placement arise.
Question: Can I work for money at my organization?
Answer: Volunteer hours to fulfill the RSSW course requirements cannot be paid. If you are or become a paid staff member at your organization you must have a plan in place with your supervisor to ensure the separation of volunteer service and paid service.
Question: I would like to take RSSW 290. Please send me an SKN Permission Number so I can register.
Answer: I am glad to hear of your interest in RSSW 290.
In order to get an SKN for the course, you need to have a signed permission form from the organization where you will be doing your community service. Please read the answer to the question: How do I sign up for Community and Public Service?
Our course only closes when there is not enough time left for you to complete your volunteer hours. You will be able to add this when drop/add begins or as a late add. If you register late, your student account will be charged a late registration fee.
Question: How will this course change my GPA?
Answer: This is a Satisfactory (pass)/Unsatisfactory (fail) course and per the Registrar’s office, it does not affect your GPA. If you fail to complete course requirement you will receive an Unsatisfactory grade and no course credit will be given.
Question: What if it isn’t working out with my organization?
Answer: “isn’t working out” has many definitions. Let us know. Most situations can be easily resolved when addressed in the early stages. As a practice, we expect that students will complete their service with the organization where they have made a commitment to serve. We realize however, that occasionally situations arise that are best addressed with a change of placement, however they are rare. We are confident we can assist students in resolving any and all concerns. We can help you by either helping to resolve the problem, or helping select another organization to complete your volunteer hours.
Question: What if my organization doesn’t have enough hours for me?
Answer: Normally when an organization agrees to sponsor a volunteer it is with a commitment to provide enough opportunities to fulfill their commitment. On the rare occasion that an organization cannot offer enough opportunities please let us know. We will help students develop a plan to fulfill their commitment.
Question: What if I do not complete the course requirements?
Answer: You must ask for an Incomplete prior to the last day of class. You will find the Incomplete Request Form in the forms link on our website.
Once you successfully complete all requirements your grade will be changed to an S (satisfactory). University policy allows one academic year to complete Incompletes. After that the grade automatically changes to a U (unsatisfactory).
organizations Frequently Asked Questions