Pellissippi State Community College’s student volunteers have generated an estimated $817,569.88 in economic impact during the past year, according to the estimated state value of volunteer time.
Through participation in its Service-Learning program, Pellissippi State recorded 2,867 student volunteers in the 2013-2014 academic year. Service-learning integrates community service with more traditional learning experiences. The program’s primary goals are to teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.
“What’s even more impressive than the economic impact of our students’ volunteer time,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and an English professor, “are the consistently positive things students have to say about how that service experience helped them find career focus and deep motivation during their college journey.
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“Based on the projects I have seen them do, I am convinced that service-learning experiences inspire college students to strive hard and think deeply about their subjects from multiple points of view. That’s pretty exciting.”
The economic impact of students’ hours was calculated using the dollar value the state places on volunteer time: $20.13 per hour. Using the federal estimate of $22.55 for volunteer service, the Service-Learning students contributed $915,856.97 to the local economy. Gray estimates that even more students participated in volunteer work than the total reflects, but that they didn’t report their hours in the college’s ServiceCorps program, which collects and reports such hours.
The benefits for students of participation in community service go beyond economics.
According to the findings of more than 900 anonymous surveys, students overwhelmingly believe that community service reinforces their desire to earn a college degree and that it motivates them to be better students. More than 80 percent prefer courses that incorporate some type of community service into the curriculum.
The vast majority also feel that civic engagement is essential to a successful academic and professional life.
“At Pellissippi State, we incentivize giving back to the community while pursuing a higher education,” Gray said. “Students’ verified service hours are listed on their student transcripts, which shows a future employer or a transfer institution how well-rounded an applicant really is.”
For more information about Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/service-learning or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about the college’s academic programs, go to www.pstcc.edu.