Skip To Main Nav

Service-Learning Scholars Program

Benefits of the Service-Learning Scholars Program

• Service-Learning Scholars are an elite group of USU students dedicated to making a difference in their community.
• Students accepted into this program will have the opportunity to complete service that is related to their personal field of study.
• Service Learning Scholars are awarded a Service-Learning Certificate, recorded on the student’s official transcript, so employers and graduate
programs can see evidence of a student’s determination to go the extra mile.
• As a Service-Learning Scholar, students will be recognized in the commencement program, and will be given cords to wear at graduation.
• Pre-priority registration is available to enable Scholars to register for service-learning sections and coordinate their schedule with their service activities.
• Financial assistance for projects and travel is available.
• Potential to be selected as an Undergraduate Service-Learning Fellow.


400 Hours of community service, documented on monthly timesheets and turned in each semester.
9 Credits of service-learning course work.
Capstone Project that combines the student’s academic interests and service.
Service-Learning Portfolio documenting service experiences and reflective learning.
Meet with the Service-Learning advisor.


• Students completing all the requirements of the program are recognized by:
• A certificate of achievement.
• Cords of distinction at commencement.
• Receiving acknowledgment of their accomplishments in the university commencement program.
• Earning the Service-Learning Scholars achievement printed on transcripts.

400 Hours of Service

Each Service-Learning Scholar performs a minimum of 400 hours of community service and documents this service on monthly time logs.

Service Learning Scholars Application

Graduation Checklist

Capstone Proposal

Service Learning Contract


Criteria for Service Hours

1. Service hours must meet a recognized community need through a non-profit agency or group, provide service to the broader University community, or assist an individual (non-related) person in need.
2. Service activities can include, but are not limited to, direct service, advocacy, public policy development, community organizing, or other activities that meet the learning goals identified by a specific service-learning course. Service hours benefiting a religion, fraternal organization, or political party are encouraged but will not count toward this requirement. However, service to the community at large organized by these groups does count. For example, teaching a religious study class would not count toward service hours, but participating in a food drive for the food bank that is organized by a religious group does count.
3. Service must be performed without an hourly wage. Service supported through grants, work-study, stipends, Americorps, and/or scholarships is acceptable.
4. Service hours must be logged on the Monthly Reporting Form and turned in each semester.

Frequently Asked Questions about the 400 Service Hours

Q. Do the hours of service completed for a service-learning class count toward the 400 hours required for the program?
A. Yes. Be sure to log them on your monthly time sheets.

Q. When can I begin counting service hours?
A. You may begin recording service hours the semester that you enroll in the program. For example, if you enroll in the program in April you may record hours for the whole spring semester beginning in January.

Q. Do the hours of service completed for the capstone project count toward the 400 hours required for the program?
A. Yes. It is suggested that you spend between 50 to 100 hours on your capstone project.

Q. Can time spent preparing for and organizing service projects be counted?
A. Yes. For example, if you are coordinating an environmental clean-up project, the time spent calling and organizing volunteers for the project can be counted, as well as the time actually spent on the clean-up project.

Q. Does travel time count?
A. Yes and No. Typically, travel time to and from service projects in Logan does not count toward the 400 hour requirement. However if travel is a significant part of your service in Logan you may contact the CSD to have travel time approved. However, travel time to service locations outside of Logan does count.

Q. Do I have to be registered for classes during the semester I perform the service?
A. No. Service can be done over the semester or summer while you are not registered for classes.

Q. How often should I turn in my Monthly Hour Reports?
A. You should complete your reports each month. You are required to turn them in each semester when you meet with the Community Service Director. Do not wait until the end of the semester to record your hours, your memory might not be as good as you think.

Q. How can I find out about service opportunities?
A. There are a number of ways to find out about service opportunities:

1. Visit the Val R. Christensen Service Center, TSC room 332, or on the web at Sign up for specific programs or contact the program directors to serve on a committee.
2. Watch for emails from the Service-Learning Student Director with information about upcoming service events.
3. Visit the Cache Valley Volunteer Center located in Smith’s Food and Drug, 442 North 175 East, Logan, UT 84321.
4. Choose a non-profit of interest and let them know of your commitment to serve.
5. Come talk to the Community Service Director, they will be involved in all these programs and will be able to direct you to an opportunity that is right for you.
6. Contact the S-L Faculty Coordinator about opportunities specific to a particular course.

Q. How can I complete 400 hours of service as a full-time student?
A. Our record holder completed 1000 hours of service in one year! This was an extraordinary effort and is not recommended for most students.

Here are some guidelines:
1. Hours add up over time. The earlier you begin the easier it will be. If you begin the program two years before your graduate you could finish the 400 hour requirement volunteering 3 hours a week.
2. Record your hours regularly. You will be surprised how much time you are actually volunteering if you record it regularly. Many student forget hours and projects if they do not record them as they occur.
3. Start your capstone project early. The hours you spend on your project count toward your 400 hours. Start early so that you can include them.

9 Credits of Service-Learning Courses
As a Service-Learning Scholar, you can fill the requirement of 9 credit hours of course work in one of two ways. (1) You may take courses that have already been approved as designated service-learning classes or (2) add a service component to any course to make it a service- learning course.

Approved Service-Learning Courses:
Approved Service-Learning Courses have been submitted to the Service-Learning Faculty Steering committee by the course instructor and have received approval to receive the service-learning distinction. A list of current approved service- learning courses can be requested from the Community Service Director or the Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator.

Criteria for designation of a service-learning class are as follows:
Courses that meet the criteria listed below may be designated as Service-Learning (SL) and be so designated in the course catalog. The designation process is simple: after being approved by the department and college (and their respective curriculum committees where appropriate), the faculty member or department submits the proposed course to the Service-Learning Coordinator. The Coordinator will submit the proposal to the Service-Learning Faculty Steering Committee which will determine if the course meets service learning course criteria. The committee will work with interested faculty to help ensure the course meets the criteria.

The following criteria must be met in order to be considered for service-learning designation:
1. The course must include a service-learning activity which comprises a significant component of the course. This service-learning activity must be considered as part of the grade earned by the student in the class (normally the service-learning activity will comprise 10 to 20% of the course grade).
2. The course integrates action and reflection. The course will combine a substantial service-learning activity with critical examination of theory or application of disciplinary concepts and skills relevant to that activity. Students will be required to write a reflective paper (or comparable exercise, e.g. an oral discourse) in which they relate the activity to the disciplinary content being discussed in the course. It is also expected that some class time will be devoted to discussions of what students learned through the activity and how it relates to course content.
3. Students in the class provide an instructor- approved needed service to the community (which could include community organizations or individuals).
4. Students need to abide by the rules of the organization in which they are participating and are to refrain from forcing their personal views and values on individuals they may be working with.

Service-Learning Course Contract Process
A Service-Learning Contract is an agreement between a Service-Learning Scholar and an instructor to take an UPPER-DIVISION course for service-learning credit. The instructor decides what exercises are worthy of service-learning credit and whether the student has earned service-learning credit. The work is not generally graded and does not affect the student’s grade in the class.

Students: Pick up a contract from the Service-Learning Coordinator before the end of the second week of classes. Ask your instructor if he/she would be willing to work with you on a project worthy of service-learning credit. If so, legibly print the information below and return the completed and signed contract to the Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator. If your instructor is not familiar with service-learning concepts, the Service-Learning Faculty Coordinator will meet with the instructor to explain the program.
Instructor: If you agree to take on this additional teaching responsibility, describe the work that the student will complete and sign below as indicated. Questions? Call the Service Learning Coordinator at 797-8135. The Service-Learning Scholars Program will send you a copy of the contract at the end of the semester to verify completion.

The deadline for a student to file a Service-Learning Contract is no later than the fourth week of classes.

Frequently Asked Questions about the 9 Credit Hours

Q. Can a service-learning course count for the requirements if taken before enrolling?
A. Yes, designated service-learning courses taken before the student officially enrolls as a scholar may be used.

Q. Do I need to have a minimum GPA to participate in the program?
A. Yes, you must have a 3.0 GPA prior to admission into the program, and you will need at least a 3.0 GPA at graduation.

Q. How many hours of service are required for a service-learning class?
A. Hours required by each instructor may vary, however, we recommend you plan on between 10 – 15 hours per course. This should be listed in the course syllabus.

Q. Can I have a service-learning contract and an Honors contract at the same time?
A. Yes. We’ve coordinated this with the Honors program staff. Make sure you point out the overlap on both contracts.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is the culminating activity of the Service-Learning Scholars program. It is recommended that the capstone project require between 50 – 100 hours of service. The capstone project should be self-sustaining and leave a lasting impact. Scholars should focus on creating something that will remain after they have left the University. For example, students might create a new service program, a new event that can be replicated, a piece of art work, a new hiking trail…the possibilities are endless.

Criteria for the Capstone Project

1. Scholars are strongly encouraged to design a capstone project related to their major.
2. The project should promote self-sufficiency from – as opposed to dependence upon – the Service-Learning Scholar.
3. The scholar should complete the Capstone Proposal Form two semesters before they graduate and turn it into the Community Service Director.
4. Service hours for the capstone project should be tracked on the monthly report form and turned in at the end of the semester.
5. The scholar will complete a reflection piece regarding the capstone project. Scholars may choose one of the following reflection options. The reflection piece should be included in the portfolio. Scholars may complete a written or an audio/visual reflection piece.

Reflection may be completed in the following format:

a) Written: Written reflection may be completed in one of three ways:
i.A 3-5 page reflection essay addressing the following questions:
1. Why was there a need for my service?
2. What is the underlying problem and why does it exist?
a. What social, economic, political, and educational systems are causing or perpetuating the problem?
3. What did I do to work for change?
4. How did my service impact the problem?
5. How did my service impact me?
6. What will I do from here to continue to address the problem at hand?
ii.A reflective journal may be kept and turned in as the reflection piece. One to 2 pages should be completed for each 5 to 10 hours of service.
iii.Original poetry may be submitted as the reflective piece. The scholar should create poetry that requires the same amount of effort as a 3 to 5 page essay. Several poems may be produced to accomplish this.
b) Audio/Visual: All forms of reflection (other than written) must be accompanied by a ½ - 1 page written description giving a summary/conclusion to your reflection. For example, write how the artwork is representative of your thoughts, feelings, and learning. Examples of audio/visual projects might include:
1. Photography, painting, drawing.
2. Video, (should be 10 min. in length).
3. Slide Show (should be 5 min. in length).
4. Power Point (should be 10 min. in length).
5. Song composition.
6. Dictated reflection: i.e. speech or presentation.
c) A combination of reflection methods may be used to complete the reflective piece of desired.
d) Reflection may be completed in groups with permission from the CSD>
6. The scholar should complete the Capstone Evaluation Form (see pages 19-20) one month before graduation and meet with the Community Service Director to review all graduations requirements and complete an exit interview.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Capstone Project:

Q. How do I come up with an idea for an integrated service project?
A. One way to start is to volunteer at different agencies while working toward your 400 hours. When you have decided what type of volunteer work you enjoy most, what issues concern you, and what the community needs are that interest you, you can decide how to combine that type of community service with your major course of study.

Q. How many hours should be spent on the capstone project?
A. It is recommended that you spend between 50 and 100 hours.

Q. Can the capstone project involve more volunteers than just me?|
A. Yes! Though only your hours count toward the 400 hour requirement. Involvement of others in the project can provide you with experience in organizing the work of others and help your project to be sustainable once you have graduated.

Example of a Completed Capstone Project:

Senior University: After volunteering with and later directing the Val R. Christensen Service Center program Friends of the Elderly, Melissa created a program called Senior University. Each week a group of 20 to 30 senior citizens is bused from the Logan Senior Center to campus to attend a class presented by a volunteer faculty member. Classes included creative writing, indoor plant care, a lecture on sea turtles, and even the opportunity to dissect a squid! The program will continue as a new Service Center sponsored program.

Service-Learning Portfolio

The Service-Learning Portfolio is a compilation of your service-learning experiences throughout your S-L Scholar experience. The Service-Learning Portfolio should be turned in one month prior to graduation at the exit interview with the Community Service Director.

The following items are required for the Service-Learning Portfolio:
• The syllabus, projects, and assignments from your service-learning classes.
• Copies of service-learning contracts for any course adapted into service learning courses.
• An unofficial transcript documenting 9 Credits of service-learning course work.
• The reflection piece from your capstone project.
• Monthly time logs documenting 400 hours of service.

The following items are suggested for the Service-Learning Portfolio:
• Pictures of your service experiences.
• Reflective journal entries.
• Any newspaper articles highlighting your service or projects.
• Any resource information about the agency with which you served.
• Any research regarding the community issue addressed.
• Any letters of thanks or evaluations of your work from community partners or faculty.