Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning

Civic Responsibility at Jackson State University

The Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning at Jackson State University, (the Harden Center) promotes all students toward improving the human condition through civic engagement. Through the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning , the university is able to continue to expand its role in cultivating and sustaining stronger communities. While the university provides excellence in educating its students, it also believes that connecting student learning with civic responsibility is fundamental to the academic environment for students who earn their degree at Jackson State University. To that end, the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  supports students, faculty and staff  toward a commitment to lifelong citizenship locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  assists students in developing the skills necessary to become civically responsible citizens and to take action on social issues that are important to them.

Responding to mounting and unresolved social problems in communities, like those prevalent in the metropolitan area and across a global society, communities expect institutions of higher education to assume a larger role in supporting the needs of the community.  To this expectation, the university has reaffirmed its commitment to service by supporting a service-focused center to leverage its capital to address those needs to all it serves.  Consequently, Jackson State University must stay poised to reflect those needs in the design of its educational programs, for which it has responded.

To support this goal, the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  provides a range of programs that promote civic engagement at JSU including : (1) Alternative Breaks, (2) Community Service (on campus and off campus)  (3) Service-Learning  (4) Service-Learning Ambassador and  (5) the National Student Exchange. Programs offered in the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  are often collaborations with other departments and colleges serving a diverse population throughout the community.

Getting involved in civic engagement at Jackson State University is very simple. The Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  promotes social action through campus-community partnerships, faculty scholarship and student involvement and provides information on a wide variety of opportunities for community involvement.

Service Hours Needed for Graduation

             Effective: February 12, 2014 by Student Life

  • Only students who have enrolled in Jackson State University beginning in 2010 to present are required to complete the service requirement; students enrolled prior to August 2010 are NOT required to complete the service requirement.
  • If a student transfers at least one (1) academic credit from an accredited university/college, than he/she is considered to be a transfer student.  Therefore students accepted to JSU with transfer credit hours are only required to complete 60 hours of service.
  • "In -progress" service hours posted to a student's transcript must be manually added to the total cumulative service hours.  This step is required because hours will change quite frequently in the current semester.  The final hours for the current semester will roll over to the student's official transcript at the end of the semester.
  • Undergraduate students cleared for Graduation Commencement may have any combination of the following:

o   120 hours of on-campus community service; or

o   120 hours of off-campus community service; or

o   120 hours of service-learning (usually offered through an academic course); or

o   120 hours of unpaid internship; or

o   120 hours of field experience; or

o   120 hours which are completed through a combination of on-campus/off-campus community service/service-learning/internships and/or field experience.

 

About Our Programs

Alternative Breaks  This is the perfect short-term volunteer experience, designed to place teams of college students in communities to engage in civic engagement and experiential learning during their summer, fall, winter, weekend or spring breaks.  Students travel cross the U.S. and internationally performing projects for community agencies and learn about social issues such as literacy, poverty, racism, hunger, homelessness and the environment.  Participants receive a detailed orientation, and participate in reflection sessions, during pre-and-post trip group sessions. 

Civic Engagement/Community Service Your volunteer service of a few hours a week will make a difference to people in need.  The immersion is another culture driven by the environment and deepens your understanding of our society in a way that goes beyond your preconceived orientation.  You will learn what challenges communities face and see how your work furthers the community’s goals.  You will also build valuable relationships with the people that you work along beside each time your serve.  You can also make a difference by supporting and contributing to meet a need in the community that affects the lives of the elderly, homeless, people with disabilities, schools, childcare centers and many other community organizations.

National Student Exchange (NSE) The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduate exchange within the United States, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Canada.  Students who qualify, may choose a university with just the right combination of courses, facilities, and environment to meet their academic, personal needs and interests. While on exchange, you may pay your normal tuition to your home campus or pay the in-state or in providence tuition to your host college or university.   

Service Ambassador Students selected to work in the Student Service Ambassador Program through the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning play a key role in promoting the value and ethic of service at the university.  Service Ambassadors assist in supervising and supporting students at their service site and assist in all facets of various activities.   

Service-Learning Students engage in volunteer service related to a service-learning course in which they meet regularly with a faculty member to reflect, discuss and analyze the impact of their issues.  Students will think critically about issues of public policy, active citizenship and civic responsibility.  Academic credits are issued for successful completion of the service-learning course and generally a minimum number of civic engagement hours are required.

FAQs About Our Center

How do I sign up for Community Service?

Signing up for community service is not necessary. Simply, choose a community partner from the pre-approved list, contact the agency, and begin the service experience.student's responsibility to complete the community service form and return it to our office by the semester deadline of November 21, 2014.

What if I want to complete community service at a site not listed on the Agency List?

For sites not listed on our approved agency list, stop by the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning located in Suite 110, Jacob L. Reddix Hall, or download a copy of the Site Approval Packet. These forms must be completed by the Community Partner, and approved by our office, before the service experience begins. The site/agency supervisor must provide our office with the following information.

  • Completed JSU Site Agreement Form
  • Completed JSU Request for Services Form
  • Copy of 947 Form; must be a non-profit (IRSet Award Letter

Once our office receives the returned forms, a staff member from the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning will notify the community agency and the student of approval or rejection.  If the site meets all requirements for approval, the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning  for Service will add the community partner to the following semester approved Agency List.  Please note that all forms must be mailed to our office or hand delivered, as we need original signatures.  The site approval process normally takes between 3-5 business days. NO INCOMPLETE PACKETS WILL BE ACCEPTED!

How do I check my Community Service and/or Service-Learning hours?

Students can log on to their JSU PAWS account.

Why should I participate in the National Student Exchange Program?

Live and learn in a different geographical area

Take courses not available on your campus

Investigate graduate schools

Look for future Employment

Experience life from a different point of view

When are the Community Service/ Service-Learning/National Student Exchange Deadlines?

September 19- Service-Learning Fall Student Registration Packets are due to the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning (forms must be submitted by the professor only/NO EXCEPTIONS).

November 21- All Service-Learning Log In Forms are due to the Alice Varnado Harden Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning (forms must be submitted by the professor only/NO EXCEPTIONS).

November 21- All Community Service Forms are due, NO EXCEPTIONS!

January 16, 2015- Deadline to submit National Student Exchange Packet including $150.00 non refundable application fee, NO EXCEPTIONS!

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