Motivations and Perceptions of Student Service Participation
Keywords:community service, liberal arts, college students
Researchers studying higher education frequently associated community service with liberal arts education. Most research on service participation among college students predominantly studies mandatory service-learning programs. Several studies gathered survey data to analyze opinions and feelings towards volunteering from students at universities with a service-learning component and found that students who participate feel more connected to and engaged in their community. Georgia College & State University (Georgia College or GC), a public liberal arts university, also claims community service is an integral part of their mission because it broadens students’ perspectives and forms engaged citizens. However, there is little data examining student motivations and perceptions of their voluntary service experiences as part of their education at liberal arts institutions. This research project addresses this gap using two methods: (a) participant observation during service events and (b) semi-structured interviewing with both students engaged in voluntary service activities as well as employees who observe student service involvement. Preliminary findings display a wide array of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for student service participation, and interview data relates service to the liberal arts mission as a method of expanding perspectives of students. These results support literature that says students benefit from service participation by both honing their skills and spurring their passion about community involvement. The findings herein add to the literature by exploring motivators for voluntary service participation.
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Copyright (c) 2019 Lily Johnson; Amanda Reinke
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