Community Service Hours FAQS

What counts as Service?

FAQs about Service and Service Tracker

What do you mean by service?

Service to the broader community occurs in off-campus (and in some cases on-campus settings), where activities directly address a community-based issue or problem, contribute to the public good, meet needs in our community and contribute to civic life.
Activities may include: Direct Service, Philanthropy/Fundraising, Service Learning, Internship, Advocacy/Education, Community Based Research and/or Public Professional Service.

What kind of activities count as service to the broader community?

Examples include: providing direct service at a food pantry or as part of a national service day, participating in an alternative break or mission trip, volunteering to help run a sports clinic or an after-school program, tutoring at a school or library, organizing a fund raising event for an organization, organizing cultural events that are free/low cost and open to the public, serving on a board of a nonprofit agency, volunteering to help do research for an agency, organizing a program or activity to raise awareness about a community issue to help generate donations and/or volunteers, providing consulting or training to underserved groups…the list is endless!

If I have to do training or preparation to be able to serve does that count?

Yes, hours spent in training or preparation to be able to serve DO count.

What kind of on-campus events count?
For example, giving blood at an on-campus blood drive; philanthropy projects where funds or goods are directly donated to community based organizations (Relay for Life, Dance Marathon). Organizing or being on the planning board for an educational, cultural/diversity, art or awareness event that is open to the public and bring attention to community needs (Rock Against Rape, Vagina Monologues, Intercultural Fest).

Can I count the hours when I attend an on-campus event?
No, attending an event does not count as hours unless you are on the planning board or an organizer.

Do hours in a service-learning class or internship count?
Yes, these hours count! In the Service Tracker system, just indicate that the type of service was "service-learning" and pick the class or group that the service-learning was affiliated with.

Does service always benefit the nonprofit sector?
Service usually addresses the needs of nonprofit agencies and the public/civic sector and the citizens, clients and customers they serve. However many for-profit entities also participate in service through engagement in civic life, corporate volunteer programs and corporate donation programs.

How do we define Public Professional Service?
Public professional service is important for our university given our role in education and knowledge creation, and many members of the campus community provide service to the broader community through service on boards or committees of civic organizations, research activities defined as the scholarship of engagement, and providing pro-bono consultancy and training.

I participate in service activities through my faith community, does that count?
Yes, many of us perform service to the broader community through our faith communities. An example might be helping run a clothing donation program through the church or an after-school program for low income youth in the community through a synagogue. Activities that benefit just members of the faith community such as study groups our Sunday school are considered service to that organization and would not be counted as service to the broader community.

Can I get a record of my service hours?
Anyone logged into the system can get access to their record of service. Just print out the page for a running total. To get hours verified and have a letter printed and endorsed by the CSLC, please contact the Community Service Learning Center at (616) 331-2468 or

Can I count my hours for a group?
Yes, Service Tracker is linked to STUEY and will soon be linked to OrgSync, so any student organization you are properly registered for can be selected. Individuals can also report service done as a part of other groups, programs, departments, etc. under the "Group" section on the service entry page. If you have a group that you do service with that is not currently listed inService Tracker please contact us and we can add your group for you! 

Can I count my hours from one event with multiple Student Organizations?
Yes! You may be a representative for up to 2 registered student organizations.

Are there awards for logging hours?
Yes, individuals and RSO’s will be recognized at the Student Life awards banquet at the end of the year. Past awards have included:

Individual: Top three students with most service hours recorded 

Organization / Group: Most philanthropic dollars raised by an organization/group(total & per member); Most service hours recorded by an organization/group (total & per member)

Will my organization have to fill out a Community Impact Report Form?
No, the community impact report form is no longer being used, therefore it is important for each member of your organization to be accountable for their hours.

If your question about what counts as service was not answered here, please feel free to contact the Community Service Learning Center for assistance. 616.331.2468

Page last modified April 19, 2017