At Rider, Community Service is defined as work performed by a person or group of people that benefits others. The service provided should meet a specific and identified need in the community through a connection with a non-profit or other community-based organization. You should be able to articulate the need being addressed and the people/organization that benefit from your service. Performing volunteer service means that you donate your time and talents. You do not get paid to perform community service, although sometimes food or small gifts, like a t-shirt, are given to volunteers.
There are many opportunities on campus and off where you can provide a few hours of service at a time, and you can accrue these hours to reach 20 or more to earn Engaged Learning points. See Examples of Community Service below for ideas.
If your time is spent volunteering for more than one organization, you will enter the hours as Service Hours in BroncNation. However, some community service at Rider is more structured and there is a form in BroncNation specifically for those experiences. If you volunteer at least 20 hours with End Hunger Advocates, Friendly Visitor Program, Rider Votes, or any other organization listed under the Civic and Community Engagement experience category you will need to complete that Experience Form in BroncNation. If you perform any other type of volunteer service, you should enter the time as Service Hours.
The minimum number of hours needed to earn 1 point is 20. Volunteer service earns points based upon the following scale:
- 1 point - 20 to 49 hours
- 2 points - 50 to 99 hours
- 3 points – 100 or more hours
You can perform volunteer service with one organization, or with multiple organizations. To record the hours you volunteered, log in to BroncNation. Click on your initial or photo at the top right to open the right-side menu. Select Service Hours to open a new window and complete the short form.
You must select an organization from the menu. If no organization is shown, you should return to the BroncNation home page. Under Memberships select Office of Service and Civic Engagement and submit a request for membership. You will receive an email when your request is approved. Then return to the Service Hours form, complete it and click Create.
Submitted service hours will be approved by the Office of Service and Civic Engagement throughout each semester. After you have at least 20 approved hours you must attend a reflection session before the points are fully earned and can be recorded in DegreeWorks.
Part of the value we gain from volunteering is the chance to discuss our service with other like-minded individuals. You must attend a reflection session and participate in a group discussion before you will earn points.
Once you have submitted at least 20 service hours and they have been approved, you should sign up for a reflection session. You will find the available sessions listed in BroncNation as an event. Search for “reflection” to display a list of available sessions. Select the date and time that is best for you and sign up.
Part of the sign-up process includes completing a short form. The information you enter in this form will assist with recording your earned points accurately in DegreeWorks and on your ELT.
You will need to attend a reflection session for each point you earn. In other words, you will attend a reflection session when you submit 20 - 49 hours, then again for 50 – 99 hours, and when you reach 100+ hours. You will not need to attend more than 3 reflection sessions for all of the community service that you perform. We encourage you to continue performing service even after you have already earned 3 points.
- Preparing meals for homebound citizens through Meals on Wheels. Meal prep takes place in the Daly kitchen on campus. Look for the email each month to sign up.
- Serving meals to homeless patrons at Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) or Loaves & Fishes food pantries throughout the area.
- Cleaning up trash at the Jersey shore through University-sponsored beach sweeps with Clean Ocean Action. See The Campus Green newsletter for info on the next sweep and more.
- Participation in the Friendly Visitor’s Program, a companion program with Meals on Wheels, where you provide a meaningful friendship to a homebound citizen in Mercer County.
- Assisting with a holiday party for local children from the Boys & Girls Club, organized by the Office of Service & Civic Engagement.
- Volunteering with seniors at Morris Hall, a local nursing home.
- Tutoring a child in mathematics at the Lawrence Community Center.
- Walking dogs for an animal shelter like EASEL.
- Coaching a 12-years and under girl’s soccer team for the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association.
- Serve as a firefighter or EMT for your local community or the Lawrenceville community.
- Assisting with services at your local place of worship.
- Mentoring an at-risk child through Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Mercer County.
- Creating social media content for WomenSpace.
- Become an End Hunger Advocate, working with local organizations to address issues of hunger and food insecurity in our community.
- Working on a committee for Rider University’s Relay for Life.
- Working for the Rider University Resource Pantry.
- Assisting with Freshman Move-In as a Bronc Buddy.
- Tabling to fundraise, educate, or advocate for Alzheimer’s Association or another specific non-profit/charity organization.
- Supporting athletes who are training for participating in Special Olympics.
- Stocking the food pantry and distributing food with Arm in Arm, Trenton, NJ.
In addition to the worthy organizations above, you may volunteer in your local community anytime, or during the summer and breaks. If in doubt about whether an organization or volunteer action you want to participate in is truly community service, please contact the Office of Service and Community Engagement at [email protected].
- Service hours must be performed while you are an active, currently enrolled student in your first term or later. Hours served before your first term or while you do not have Active status are not eligible to earn points.
- You must perform at least 20 hours of service, submit the hours in BroncNation for approval, and attend a reflection session in order to earn service points.
- Record volunteer hours in BroncNation as you complete them, or as one larger entry each week or month. Hours will be approved throughout each semester.
- Service hours can be accumulated over different semesters or academic years until you reach 20 hours , enough to attend a reflection session.
- Community Service performed for multiple organizations can be combined to reach 20+ hours. Be sure to list all of the organizations you volunteered with in the Service Hours form.
- Do not wait until the end of a semester to record service hours in BroncNation. The Office of Service and Civic Engagement needs time to approve them, and you will need to attend a reflection session before the points are earned.
- Hours submitted in BroncNation that do not fit the guidelines of Community Service above will be denied.
- Seniors should complete their Engaged Learning requirement before their last semester whenever possible. Submit service hours and attend a reflection session during the semester prior to your last one to ensure a seamless graduation.