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Utah State University students looking for service opportunities now have a more accessible way than ever to find them.
AggieSync, an program located on every student’s online MyUSU menu, asks students to sign in with their major, year in school and expected graduation year, and then provides them a list of service opportunities on campus and around the community.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to go and find service opportunities,” said Todd Brown, the Utah State University Student Association service vice president. “A lot of times students are looking for service opportunities and they don’t know where to go.”
Several student involvement organizations require participants to obtain and log a certain number of service hours, which AggieSync can make more accessible.
“It’s a really good way to keep track of your hours, too,” said Anna Stoker, director of the Student Nutrition Access Center, a campus organization that provides free food to students who cannot afford to provide for themselves.
AggieSync replaces Aggies Giving Service, the program previously used for students to log service hours.
“It’s all on just one common location, it’s pretty sweet,” said Chaseton Womack, co-director of Aggie Translators, which provides language translation to USU students and Cache Valley residents. “Now it’s a lot easier to manage what you do.”
Students are automatically placed into the AggieSync system when they enroll at USU. Before receiving notifications about service opportunities, they must create a profile, which takes about two minutes.
“Everybody’s busy with school and homework, but (we want) to be able to encourage them to serve and have it help their college experience,” Stoker said. “I think service allows us to grow and become familiar with everybody around us and situations that people are in as well.”
To ensure students are honest about their logged hours, their respective service directors must approve hours before they can be officially logged.
“You keep track of everything that happens a lot better — it’s kind of like Facebook for service,” Womack said.
Students can find service opportunities from the USU Val R. Christensen Service Center, as well as various nationwide organizations like the Red Cross, American Nuclear Society and Food Recovery Network.
Although the program’s primary purpose is to provide service opportunities, students can also access service-related, paid jobs in various USU organizations like the Center for Civic Engagement.
Because student service hours are logged in the program, students can easily access them when accessing transcripts for jobs or academic programs.
“So when you’re applying for jobs, you can print it out with your official transcripts, so it looks really nice,” said Brentlee Rice, director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters USU chapter.
As of Thursday, 575 students had logged hours on AggieSync, which Stoker said she thinks is “decent for just getting started.”
Stoker and Brown agreed many students will use AggieSync for required service or other external reasons — however both said they believe service is beneficial to students simply for its intrinsic rewards.
“Service gives you an opportunity to think about somebody besides yourself,” Stoker said, “which is hard to do in college because we’re surrounded by a lot of worries that have us focus inward rather than outward.”