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Service Hours and Recognition

Volunteer Hour Guidelines

Our broad definition of community service is “action taken to meet the needs of others and to better the community as a whole” (Campus Compact, 1998). UTHSC further defines volunteer hours as non-compensated, activities that are organized in partnership with a non-profit organization and directly benefit the larger public or external community, beyond our campus.

Timeline Requirements: Service must be tracked within 1 month/31 days of completion to be accepted.

Tracking Note: In all cases where a student is tracking more than 5 hours, a detailed timeline of activities must be included in the service details section of the tracking form.

An example might be:

“This service was conducted weekly over the entire month of August 2019 (3.5 hours each week). I volunteered every Thursday from 8:00-11:30 am in the Emergency Department at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital. I mostly helped clean beds, work the reception desk, restock rooms, and consolidate wheelchairs. I volunteered a total of 4 times resulting in 14 hours of service.”

Prior to submitting your hours, please review the detailed Service Guidelines regarding what can and cannot be logged for volunteer hours.

Service Guidelines

While we encourage and value all types of service and volunteerism, only certain types of activities can be logged. The most important factor in determining an activity’s qualification is whether it serves an unmet need in the community, preferably one identified by a community partner organization. The goal of these guidelines is not to exclude any meaningful or well-intentioned service but rather to provide a very basic framework for understanding volunteerism. If you have any questions, please contact us at sccs@uthsc.edu.

The following activities CAN be logged for volunteer hours:

Charitable Volunteerism:

  • Organizationally-sponsored tutoring and mentoring (i.e.,: Big Brothers Big Sisters, programs through a local public school, etc.);
  • Volunteering at a hospital, animal shelter, free after-school and child care facility, or other educational and non-profit agencies;
  • Indirect service activities organized by or in collaboration with a non-profit organization that is completed off-site;
  • Providing pro-bono professional and/or medical services.

Community Organizing:

  • Bipartisan political activities, such as working a voter registration drive;
  • Community Building (i.e., community gardens; Memphis City Beautiful initiatives).
  • Community-Engaged/Service-Learning Course activities that take place outside of the classroom (direct service hours only).
  • Religious education (i.e., teaching Sunday School or Hebrew School) or volunteering at your place of worship.

Volunteer-related break trips

*Note: Only the hours spent directly engaged in service should be tracked. Hours for travel to and from a service site or time sleeping overnight, eating, or socializing at a service site does not earn volunteer credit. 

Direct Philanthropy and Fundraising Activities:

  • Working a fundraising event, such as check-in, participant management and support, set-up, tear-down, etc.;
  • Directly participating with the population served by the organization, such as time spent with families and children.

The following types of activities CANNOT be logged for volunteer hours:

  • Donations of any type, including but not limited to money, supplies, clothing, food, blood, etc.
  • Indirect Philanthropy and Fundraising Activities:
    • Attending meetings related to planning or organizing fundraising events, such as VOLthon, Relay for Life, etc.;
    • Attending a fundraising activity (i.e.,  Relay for Life) but not engaging in direct service;
    • Running or walking in a 5K, walk, or race for charity;
    • Greek philanthropic events such as percentage nights or working a phone bank or other event to raise money for the national Greek organization or the organization’s philanthropy.
  • Projects completed with any for-profit organization/business, even if the work was unpaid. Any substantial activities of this kind should be pursued as an internship.
  • Internships, clinicals, practicums, or field experience work in hospitals, clinics, or similar organizations. This includes time spent job shadowing and observing.
  • Self-directed “projects” without the oversight of a supporting community organization, such as trash pick-up or recycling, tutoring for free, helping elderly neighbor with yard work, baby-sitting/pet-sitting for free for private individuals, etc.
  • Activities completed for the benefit of a student organization or department (i.e.,: tabling, Peer Mentoring, serving as an Ambassador to a department, being a student organization officer, etc.).
  • Participation in self-improvement workshops, clinics, conferences, or conventions.
  • Helping with campus programs like Take CARE events, Student Appreciation, or conference unless those activities directly serve a population beyond the UTHSC campus (i.e., nonprofit organizations, youth and team programs, etc.).
  • Participating in a research project either as a participant (i.e., focus group) or a researcher (i.e., lab assistant).

Tips and Tricks For Logging Service and Volunteer Hours

  1. Complete the tracking form for each day you serve or at minimum each month you serve if it is an ongoing activity.
  2. Volunteer hours logged more than one month/31 days past the date of service will not be collected and the only method of collection supported by UTHSC is via this online database.
  3. Make any edits to your hours served by logging in and using your dashboard.
  4. To request confirmation of your service hours login using your Net ID and password and use the "request confirmation" button on your dashboard.
May 26, 2022