Why should I get involved?
Our Project Serve Programs strive to equally benefit both the students and the community agencies. All of our programs will introduce students to community engagement and, through it, affirm the value of learning through co-curricular involvement. It is our hope that by participating in Project Serve Day, students will learn more about campus and local involvement opportunities and will be encouraged to continue making a difference in the community in the years to come. In addition, we hope that local agencies and organizations will receive genuine assistance and the chance to both connect with the campus community and recruit new volunteers.
Quotes from Participating Agencies
"An excellent way of encouraging students to become involved in their community."
"We gained some volunteers out of the day!"
"Excellent program that is well organized and implemented."
"Opportunity to teach students about our agency and who we serve."
- Comments from Agencies
"After Project Serve Day, I decided to get involved in more volunteering placements and move outside the bubble of the University campus. I now volunteer regularly at Chalmer's Community Service Centre and the Guelph Humane Society."
- Comment from a Student
What is Project Serve Day?
Project Serve Day is an initiative of Community Engagement and Global Citizenship that offers students the opportunity to spend a half-day volunteering with a community organization, and to connect that experience in a tangible way to what they are learning both in and outside of the classroom. The event strives to equally benefit both the students and the community agencies. It is our hope that by participating in Project Serve Day students will learn more about campus and local involvement opportunities and will be encouraged to continue making a difference in the community in the years to come. In addition, we hope that local agencies and organizations will receive genuine assistance and the chance to both connect with the campus community and recruit new volunteers.
Project Serve Guelph Mission Statement
Consistent with the University of Guelph’s mission to educate students “for life and work in a rapidly changing world”, and to the “development of the person, scholar and citizen”, Project Serve Guelph will introduce students to community service and, through it, affirm the value of service to others and of learning through co-curricular involvement.
Where can students help out?
Project Serve Day participants will be volunteering at non-profit agencies that address social, environmental, health and animal welfare issues. A few of the many organizations where we have lent our assistance during past events are retirement communities, local food banks, the Humane Society, the Guelph Community Health Centre, Community Neighbourhood Groups and the Hanlon Creek Rehabilitation Project.
Who is Involved in Project Serve?
Community Engagement and Global Citizenship, Student Experience
We foster leadership, community engagement and social change through active collaboration and meaningful learning experiences. Community Engagement & Global Citizenship challenges students to imagine what is possible, to seize opportunities to deepen their learning, and to effect individual and collective transformation as active, global citizens.
Local Engagement Coordinator (Rei Yang) plans and implements Project Serve Day. Throughout the summer, he and his team will be contacting agencies to identify and formalize volunteer placements with agencies. In the first few weeks of September, he will be working with the Program Assistant and Peer Helpers to promote Project Serve Day, recruit and place volunteers, arrange transportation, food, reflection and recognition. If you have any questions, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Leaders are student leaders who have agreed to work alongside teams of students during Project Serve Day. Team Leaders will be trained in risk management, group facilitation, and the implementation of the reflective component. There will be at least one Team Leader at each agency, and they will be the liaison between the agency and the participants on the day of Project Serve Day.
Participants are University students, who are excited about volunteering for the day of Project Serve Day. They have a range of volunteer experience: some have never volunteered before and some volunteer regularly. All of them are interested in learning more about the Guelph community and helping to meet the needs of the people here!
Thoughts for Community Partners
- What do our regular volunteers do that students could do for a half-day?
- Is there something on our wish list that could be accomplished on the Project Serve day?
- Could the students be part of launching a new initiative? (a building project, a garden, agency promotion, etc.)
- Could the students assist at a special agency event that we plan for the Project Serve day?
A few considerations...
- Participants can be in groups from 5-40
- Participants will be volunteering at your location for about three hours
- Some students will be volunteering for the very first time
- This is an opportunity for your agency to recruit students as potential volunteers
- The work should be meaningful and fulfill an actual need in the community
- Please work flexibility into your plan in terms of student numbers. We work hard to match the agency needs with the number of students available, but we cannot always guarantee that the exact number of students requested will sign up.
Examples of Past Events
- Building a gazebo in the yard of a group home
- Painting a common room at an agency
- Helping with cleaning and organizing
- Participating in a training session for volunteers
- Building a boardwalk through a wooded area
- Planting bulbs and doing yard work
- Working with residents on a special project (crafts, gardening, etc)
- Caring for and exercising animals
- Preparing for a volunteer recognition event
- Helping an agency to move or prepare for an upcoming move
- Preparing meals for clients
- Clearing brush, removing invasive plants, cleaning waterways
- Assisting with a promotional campaign
- Participating in a special event
- Assisting with renovations
- Sorting and organizing equipment or supplies
Timeline for Agencies
- Agencies are initially contacted about Project Serve Day
- Registration form is available online
- Registration deadline
- Designing and finalizing placements for Project Serve Day
- Final confirmation of placements
- Recruitment of Team Leaders from student leaders, faculty and staff at the University
- Confirmation email and information sent to agency representatives
- September 9: Update on registrations after orientation week
- September 12: Agencies contacted with how many students to expect.
- Saturday, September 14- Project Serve Day!
Event Itinerary and Logistics
Saturday, September 14, 2019
10:30 AM: Team Leaders arrive on campus to register teams
11:00 AM: Volunteers check in and have breakfast
11:30 AM: Official Welcome
12:00 PM: Load buses & travel to agency service sites
Teams will share buses and the bus driver will drop off teams on a planned route. Expect participants to arrive between 12-12:30 PM
12:15 PM -3:30 PM: Participants are on-site
- Agency orientation and training
- Volunteer activities
- Reflective discussions
Please allow for 15-20 minutes at the end of the volunteer activities for these discussions
3:30 PM: Participants load buses and return to campus
The bus will be picking up teams at various agencies on a designated route. You can expect the bus to arrive between 3:15-3:45
4:00 PM: Wrap Up Activities (Presentations and Evaluations)
Reflection: Why and How?
The real value of Project Serve Day is not the number of people who participate or the number of service hours they perform, but in how those people are transformed. As stated by Thomas Ehrlich, “Service connects thought and feeling in a deliberate way, creating a context in which students can explore both how they feel about what they are thinking and what they think about how they feel. Service is a powerful force… for centering, strengthening, and expanding civic virtues in students.”
Reflection uses the service experience to point beyond itself. It forces people to ask powerful questions about new experiences and the impact those experiences had on themselves and others. Often reflection with a group that has volunteered is sacrificed due to lack of time and/or a devaluation of reflection as an important process in the learning cycle. Reflection is not just an event that takes place at the end of a day of volunteering… it is critical learning.
Role of the Team Leader in Reflection
The Team Leader will be leading the reflection discussions that happen naturally during the service event and at a specific time upon the students’ return to campus at the end of Project Serve Day. In addition to asking students to write about their experience, the Team Leaders will then lead them in discussions based on the simple model of:
- What? (What did you experience today? How did it go?)
- So What? (What was the significance of your participation?)
- Now What? (Future involvement, next steps)
Role of the Agency Member in Reflection
Each Project Serve Day volunteer placement will include both an orientation session by the agency and, in addition, a period of reflective discussion that is lead by the Team Leader but with important participation from the agency representative.
We encourage each agency representative to participate in some discussions with the students who come to volunteer during Project Serve Day. Reflection with a group of people allows the group to process the community experience, discuss reactions, feelings, dispel stereotypes or alienating experiences. Your participation is very valuable in examining why we are doing community service and how it is helping or hurting, root causes of the problem, ‘isms’ that perpetuate the problem, how the agency is addressing the problem, and ways that students can address the problem in ways other than volunteering.
With reflection occurring on site at the agency, you will be a valuable part of the learning that occurs during Project Serve Day. You can provide insight from your point of view into the larger social issues surrounding the agency you are involved with, as well as ideas for students to continue meaningful action in the community.