Skip to main content

Policies and Guidelines

How does WVU define service?

These guidelines provided by the Center for Service and Learning at West Virginia University, are intended to design and explain what constitutes service both on and off campus. This is not a policy and these guidelines may be updated or changed. Furthermore, some service opportunities may need to be explored more carefully to determine if the service is meeting the goals intended for a particular requirement.

All volunteers are responsible for reviewing the guidelines written here, and should email the Center for Service and Learning at with any questions or concerns.

Volunteer: Any student, faculty or staff member from any WVU campus, engaged in any type of service defined below.

Community Service: The practice of volunteering one’s time and talents to promote the common good and personal growth, while meeting actual community needs.

Service-Learning: A teaching and learning strategy by which students learn through intentional and structured community service tied to specific learning outcomes and integrated through reflection.

Outreach: Improving outcomes for individuals and families in West Virginia and the surrounding region through sustainable, active collaborations, building on resources, skills, expertise, and research-based, knowledge in a manner that is consistent with the land grant mission.

Civic Responsibility and Advocacy:

  • Lifelong citizenship development through participation, engagement and empowerment
  • Institution fulfills its purpose while acting to promote a strong inclusive democracy
  • Creating a larger sense of mission, purpose, integrity, and clarity of direction
  • Supports the development of community and belonging

Community Engagement:  The collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

 Academic Community Engagement:  The collaborative integration of purposeful academic activities with community goals that lend to a fuller understanding of complex societal issues while advancing a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

 Experiential Learning: A “learning through action” philosophy that informs methodology which educators utilize to engage learners in intentional direct experience and focused reflection outside the traditional classroom setting to increase knowledge, develop skills and strategies, clarify values, and apply prior learning. (Adapted from the Association of Experiential Education).

 Community Engaged Research: Collaborative process between researcher and community partner with the intent to disseminate knowledge that will contribute to both the community and institution/discipline goals.

Approved service opportunities meet the following criteria:

  • The volunteer may not be paid or compensated in any way for the duration of the placement.
  • The service must be supervised and provided in a safe environment that promotes learning at all times for the volunteer. Volunteers may not be directly supervised by family members.
  • Typically, activities with for-profit business organizations are not appropriate. The service may include, but is not limited to, participation with non-profit, governmental, public, faith-based, campus, or community-based organizations designed with any or all of the following purposes:
    • Improving the quality of life for community residents;
    • Meeting the needs of community residents; or
    • Fostering civic responsibility.
  • The Center for Service and Learning and iServe cannot accept opportunities from private families/individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, tutors, personal care assistants, nannies, and pet care.
  • Monetary or In-Kind donations are not considered a replacement for completing service hours. If volunteers assist in the collection or distribution of donated goods, the time spent doing so may be tracked as service hours. Remember the rule that “an hour of service counts as an hour of service.”
  • Students who would like to experience service through presenting to donate blood will have the opportunity to earn two (2) community service hours. If a student is not eligible to donate, they will be given the opportunity to volunteer at that site for the same number of hours. For more information about blood donation, Click Here.

Approval of service opportunities is at the discretion of the Center for Service and Learning at all times and is evaluated on an ongoing basis.

If you have questions about whether a particular service opportunity you intend to complete meets the above guidelines, contact the CS&L staff at: iserve@mail.wvu.eduor call us at 304-293-8761 prior to beginning service.

Non-Partner Volunteer Opportunities

Although most charitable, non-profit, faith-based, public or governmental organizations are eligible to post their volunteer needs in the iServe system, only official partners of the CS&L may host students from service-learning courses or supervise student placements that require academic supervision. Official Partners also enjoy a variety of other benefits and services. Inquiries are referred to on the How to Become a Partner page on our website.

Connect with the Center for Service and Learning