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There are so many exciting options for weekly or one-time service, choosing just one can be overwhelming!

Here are some questions to ask yourself when making a commitment to weekly service:

  • Am I doing service for a course? If so, what is my professor’s requirement? If not, why am I interested in doing service?
  • What issues/causes interest me? Hunger, homelessness, education, etc.
  • What population do I want to work with? Children, senior citizens, persons with developmental disabilities, etc.
  • Do any service sites or activities relate to my career goals?
  • What is my availability? Don’t forget to account for the travel time required to get to and from service!

One-time service opportunities are less of a commitment but can still be wonderful ways to engage with a new population, meet others with similar interests, and provide a needed service to the community.

Choose carefully and you will be able to learn, thrive, and be of service to others!

Ready to get started?

The Center for Service and Social Action believes that service activities coordinated between our office, service participants (JCU students, staff, or alumni), community partners, and service-learning faculty members are most successful when all the parties involved have a clear understanding of the expectations associated with the service.

Service participants will:

  • Enroll for service on the CSSA website.
  • Fulfill all mandatory requirements and/or training for your service activity (if any) by the deadline indicated.
  • Participate in the service activity for which you have registered.
  • Make sure you check-in with your Student Driver at your service activity.
  • Behave professionally: comply with the dress and conduct codes and respect the confidentiality standards of your site.
  • Notify CSSA at at least 24 hours in advance of an absence.
  • Communicate with CSSA about your service experience.

The Center for Service and Social Action will:

  • Support and facilitate all components of the service participant, faculty, and community partner relationship.
  • Host and conduct pre-service orientation sessions for service participants.
  • Provide access to all pre-service training and requirements.
  • Coordinate service participants’ enrollment and registration for service via the online system.
  • Provide transportation to and from most service sites.
  • Track service hours for participants.
  • Publicize service opportunities and provide service information through our website and monthly e-newsletter.
  • Maintain regular contact with service participants.
  • Seek and respond to feedback from service participants.

How do I sign-up for service?

  • Signing up for service is a three step process:
  • Enroll as a participant
  • Search for activities — you can search by day, by interest, or by a service-learning course in which you are enrolled.
  • Register for an activity

Can I set-up my own service opportunity?

  • If for service-learning, you will need to discuss arranging a self-placement with your instructor, and then meet with CSSA. If for voluntary service, and you need CSSA to track your hours, students should meet with a staff member of CSSA. Students assume all risks and responsibilities for self-placement service activities. For more information, email

How do I get to my service site?

  • CSSA provides transportation to and from most sites; expected departure and return times will be listed for those activities.

Where do I meet the van to take me to site?

  • At the stop sign on Admin. Drive, at the walkway leading to Library between the Library and O’Malley.

What should I do if the van isn’t at the assigned pick up spot?

  • If late, the van may have already left. If early, the van may not have returned from an earlier trip. Call CSSA at 216.397.6233 to check if there’s a problem. If service is canceled, we try to contact all participants by email or phone.

Can I drive myself to a service site or do I have to take the CSSA van?

  • CSSA prefers you use the transportation provided because you can reflect with the other participants.
  • However, you may drive yourself for a site your registered for. You may not just show up at a service site. Remember to sign in/out. When driving yourself, you accept all responsibility for any risks involved in traveling to and from the activity. If you plan to carpool-even in your own vehicle-you MUST register as a driver with CSSA. Proof of insurance and other information will be required.

What is the Service-Learning Attendance Policy?

  • Weekly service, as part of a service-learning course, is an academic requirement.
  • Weekly attendance is mandatory. It is also a sign of respect for others.
  • Students may be removed from service at the discretion of the professor due to absences.
  • Our community partners rely on the consistent presence and participation of our students each week.

What if my service site closes or is canceled?

  • You will be notified of the days of service for your activity when you register. When sites close because of weather, equipment failures, illness, etc., we will try to notify you as soon as possible by email or phone. These events will be logged as “site closed” on your service record.

What should I do if I get sick or need to miss weekly service?

  • The organization where you are placed relies on you and may need to change activities if you are not there. The more notice you can give of an absence, the better! If you need to miss service, email We will contact the site for you.

Can I stop going to weekly service if I get too busy?

  • Our community partners rely on you to attend consistently; they have planned their weekly activities based on the assistance you provide. In addition, the people you serve look forward to your visits and rely on you. Students experiencing an emergency medical condition, family emergency, or other serious issue requiring a termination of service should contact CSSA at or stop by the office in AD 30 as soon as possible.

What if I can’t attend a one-time project I signed up for?

  • If you know in advance you cannot attend a project, email

Please Note:

  • Students are required to email CSSA at when they know they are unable to attend. We communicate this to our student liaisons (drivers) and to our community partners.
  • CSSA does not grant “excused” absences because we do not have the capacity to verify reasons for the 600 students for whom we facilitate weekly service in a given semester. It is ultimately up to each student to decide whether another commitment or illness is a valid reason to miss service.
  • Faculty are responsible for determining the consequences for students who fail to meet the attendance requirement. Frequently, students who are removed from service are required to write a research paper or alternative assignment in place of the credit-bearing service activity.

What if something goes wrong at the service site?

  • Each partner is reviewed on their procedures for safety and supervising volunteers.

Certainly, there are inherent risks associated with travel to and from service locations, as well as with service activities. The Center for Service and Social Action strives to minimize such risks, and encourages all service participants to engage in the following best practices in order to foster a safe service environment:

Service “Do”s:

  • Attend orientation provided by CSSA and your service site prior to service
  • Dress appropriately for your activity
  • Adhere to Student Code of Conduct while in service and on drive
  • Know the emergency procedures at your site and CSSA policies on reporting incidents, and be aware of the supervisor at your site in case of emergency
  • Only engage in activities listed in the service description
  • Maintain confidentiality of all clients, employees, and agencies/organizations related to your activity (including your fellow service participants)
  • Inform your site supervisor and contact CSSA with concerns
  • Keep your emergency contact/health insurance information current with JCU’s Health Services
  • If not comfortable at your site, request an alternative placement

Service “Don’t”s:

  • Report to your site under influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Make promises or commitments at your site you cannot keep
  • Give rides in, or offer use of, your personal vehicle
  • Give/loan money or personal items to anyone at your site
  • Share too much personal information
  • Tolerate or engage in verbal, sexual, or physical harassment. If you feel harassed in any way, immediately contact your site supervisor and CSSA.
  • Tolerate/engage in talk or behavior that might be perceived as discriminatory. If you feel you have been a victim of discrimination, contact your site supervisor and CSSA.
  • Engage in any business activity or transaction
  • Enter into a personal relationship with anyone
  • Carry firearms or explosives

How are my hours tracked?

  • CSSA will record your hours, however you MUST sign-in/out on the CSSA hour tracking sheet. Some sites also require you to use their system. They report your attendance to be verified in our online system. If you set-up a self-placement but want CSSA to track your hours, you must take a service hour tracking sheet with you every time. The sheet site supervisor must sign-off on your hours. Every other week, bring the signed sheet to CSSA so we can enter your hours. Sheets will NOT be accepted after final week of service.

Can I check my service hours?

  • Yes. Log in with username and Banner ID. Click on “Service Hours” on the left toolbar. Check hours by semester or by total, and print out a report if needed. If hours are missing, we may have not received confirmation from site; hours will be updated when information is received. Please let us know if the semester is over and this information is still missing.

Can my professor check my hours?

  • Yes. Faculty have capability of checking hours of their students. This includes dates, activities, other courses or activities to which hours are being attributed, service hours, and any reasons our office noted for why a student has missed service.
Student offering service to elderly.

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