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Service-Learning FAQ

 
 
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1.) Where can I find the form to document my service-learning hours? Is it online?

The form is called a Service-Learning Agreement & Verification form and can be found on our Web site. 

  1. Read the FAQ's to learn the do's and don'ts of service-learning. Important!
  2. Find an approved agency from our Service-Learning Database.
  3. Fill out the service-learning form online (handwritten forms are not accepted).
  4. Read the Serving Safely Guidelines.
  5. Print the form and sign it.
  6. Submit the form to the service agency on the day of your service.
  7. The agency service supervisor signs the form after the service work is completed.
  8. Do make a copy and turn in the original, completed form to our office. See FAQ #5 for our office location.
  9. A green drop box is available for your convenience to submit your form.

What is meant by "approved" agency?

Agencies in the Service-Learning Database meet our risk management guidelines and are nonprofit, not-for-profit, or a governmental organization. There are nearly 300 agencies for you to choose from. You can search for an agency using our alphabetical listing or by category such as environment, education, social service, etc.

The agency I want to volunteer at is not listed in the database. How do I get approval?

If service is not being done in conjunction with a course and the service site is not in the database, obtain email or signature approval from the Office of Service-Learning before the service begins. Attach the email approval to the Service-Learning Agreement & Verification form. For approval, email lpaige@fgcu.edu, or visit the office on the 4th floor of the library, room 458G or 458I. For further questions, call 239-590-7015.

Exception:  You may volunteer at a public school (not private school) and with a church (no preseltyizing) without getting service-learning approval.

Can I volunteer with a daycare?

To volunteer at a daycare, the daycare must meet the guidelines of being a nonprofit, not for profit, or government agency. Brightest Horizons, Childcare of Southwest Florida, FGCU Family Resource Center, and daycares affiliated with a church meet the criteria. "For profit" daycares do neet meet service-learning requirements. If you know of a daycare that is not listed in the Service-Learning database, and that the agency may be a nonprofit, you can contact Nancy at neckert@fgcu.edu or 239-590-7019 for approval.

I searched the Service-Learning Database and did not find Relay for Life? Why is it not listed in the database?

Relay for Life is the event name, not the agency name. In this case, Relay for Life is the event hosted by the American Cancer Society. You can find the American Cancer Society in our database. You would list American Cancer Society on the form as Service Agency Name.

How do I record serving multiple days with the same agency?

You don't need a form for each and every day when your serving the same agency over a period of time.

Say, for example, your working every Friday and Saturday at the Lee County Library. Submit one form to the agency on your last day of service and they will sign the form and write the total number of hours that you served.

Do I need to attach a worksheet to my form to show all the days/hours that I served?

We do not need a worksheet attached to your form. If you choose, you may find keeping track of your hours in an Excel spreadsheet or calendar a convenient way to validate your hours with the agencies records.

If I volunteer a total 12 hours and 15 minutes, how is this recorded?

The service supervisor writes the total hours by rounding to the nearest 1/2 hour.  

12 hours and 15 minutes = 12

12 hours and 30 minutes = 12.5

12 hours and 45 minutes = 13

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2.) How do I find service-learning opportunities?

There are a multitude of ways to find opportunties!

  1. On the Service-Learning website, you'll find a target. Click on any category of interest and you'll be directed to the approved agencies.
  2. Visit our database of 300 approved agencies in Lee County, Collier County, Charlotte County and more.
    • Search for an agency alphabetically (i.e., Calusa Nature Center, Harry Chapin Food Bank, YMCA)
    • Search for an agency by category (arts, education, environment, health, special needs, etc.)
    • If an agency that you're interested in is not listed, contact our office for approval prior to performing service.
  3. Come like us on Facebook! Agencies, students and the service-learning staff post opportunties that are happening now.
  4. Follow us on Twitter at @EaglesConnect.
  5. Read page 2 of the Eagles News.
  6. Visit our Calendar of Events on our website.
  7. If you are taking a service-learning course, the faculty member teaching your course may have some ideas.
  8. Visit our Information Station (4th floor of the Library Building) where we have agency brochures, volunteer application forms, booklets, posters, etc. 
  9. Stop by the Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement on the 4th floor of the Library Building, Room 458. We'll be happy to help out! Visit with any staff member available.
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3) What is NOT service-learning?

                                           How Can I Do My Hours?

Driving to and from an agency is NOT counted for service-learning hours.

 

Earns Service Hours

Does Not Earn Service Hours

Definition

 

Nonprofit Agencies are established to help others, not to make money. They have proof of this status with a 501c(3) document. (If you are not sure, ask the agency if they are a nonprofit!)

For Profit Businesses/ agencies are in business to make money. (If you are not sure, ask the agency if they are a nonprofit!) 

Community Service

  • Food kitchen for homeless/ hungry
  • Teaching arts/ crafts
  • Promoting literacy
  • Academic/ Language tutoring for an agency
  • Health (approved hospitals only)
  • Sports coaching
  • Building shelters
  • Programs assisting the elderly
  • Community safety/ Community outreach/ Violence prevention
  • Collection and distribution of food, clothing and other essentials for those in need
  • Emergency/ Disaster Preparedness projects

Orientations/trainings/presentations that prepare you to do service, count towards your hours when the ‘service’ component is completed. (15 hours of training can count if you perform 15 service hours. The total will then be 30 hours)

  • Recruitment/ membership building
  • Activities at For Profit agencies. (*An exception to this would be if a company sponsors an event to help others. (i.e., WINK News sponsors a Walk-A-Thon where all proceeds go to help feed the needy.)
  • Orientations/trainings/presentations – with no service completed, do not count
  • No proseltyzing of religion
  • Hospitals that are "for profit"
  • Donating money, toys, hair, blood, etc. or purchasing items for any agenies.

Childcare Services

  • Shelters/Free clinics/YMCA/Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Public Education facilities (Head Start, etc.)
  • Tutoring or mentoring at public or private schools (academic subjects)
  • Pre-approved special projects where free services are offered to a population in need
  • Recreation and supervision of children
  • Leading & coaching at organized nonprofit/ volunteer programs
  • Babysitting for family, friends, or neighbors
  • Babysitting, coaching, mentoring, tutoring at For Profit agencies. (The family pays for the student to attend.) This could be a daycare, preschool, tutorial group, sports camp, etc.)

School Clubs

  • Club sponsored service projects to help others
  • Meetings specifically preparing for service activities or approved fundraising
  • Community outreach
 
  • Activities that benefit only you
  • Activities that benefit only the club
  • Regular club meetings
  • Fundraising for the club treasury, uniforms, field trips, etc.
  • Recruitment/ membership building
  • Helping with club meetings

Sports & Performing Arts

  • Exhibitions for Community Wellness (Health Fairs/ Red Ribbon Events/ Great American Smoke-out, etc.)
  • Youth clinics (non-profit or free to participants)
  • Free performances for special populations or, all fees collected go to a charity or for a cause (i.e. hospital shelter; fire/flood victims)
  • Unpaid coaching/refereeing for non-profit sports organizations/parks (Pop Warner)
  • Back-to-School night (directions, hand-outs, pushing wheel chairs, etc.)
  • Participating in parades (if not a class requirement)
  • Activity where profits go to shelter/ needy family/ victims of a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina help)
 
  • Camps or classes that charge tuition
  • For-profit camp or business
  • Activities/ performances/ presentations required for a course for school credit
  • Rehearsals required for class credit
  • Ticket profit goes to club

Other Services

  • Dog or Cat fostering is limited to a maximum of 10 hours with an approved nonprofit agency

 

  •  Activities performed with a sorority or fraternity that are conducted at a "for profit" organization

Court-mandated Service

Hours beyond those required by the court at the same agency or for the same project – if the placement meets nonprofit guidelines.

  • Court mandated hours do not count for your community/ service learning requirement
  • FGCU judicial action

Politics

  • Voter registration (unpaid)
  • Poll worker (unpaid, or you donate stipend to a charity)
  • “Get out the vote” activities

 *Students who have completed high quality service may then choose to work during an election for a candidate or advocating for an issue on the ballot.

  • Independent protests/ strikes/ rallies

 

 

Recruitment

  • Voter registration (unpaid)
  • Assisting with blood drives.
  • Assisting with toy drives
 
  • Recruitment/ membership building
  • Teaching about organizations/ churches/ club’s beliefs. Our goal is for you to perform charitable service, not just talk about it.
  • Attendance at club/ organization church meetings

Animals

  • Animal Shelters/ Animal Rescue Groups
  • Dog or Cat fostering is limited to a maximum of 10 hours with an approved nonprofit agency
  •  For profit pet stores or veterinary clinics

Miscellaneous

Students, there are always exceptions! If you have an idea, or an opportunity that seems to fit the guidelines, but you are not sure, ask Service-Learning.

Students, if you still have questions or concerns, call Service-Learning at 239-590-7015.

Please don’t do hours if you are not sure it is acceptable way of fulfilling this requirement. Talk to Service-Learning at 239-590-7015!

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4.) How many service-learning hours will meet the graduation requirement?

Check with your academic advisor. Right now the rule is 80 hours for students entering FGCU as freshmen and sophomores and 40 hours for students entering as juniors and seniors with 60 or more transferable credit hours. Another way to tell is to access your Gulfline account. If you are listed as upper level, you'll need 40 hours. If you are listed as lower level, you'll need 80 hours.

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5.) Where do I submit my Service-Learning Agreement and Verification form(s)?

You may deposit your form in the Service-Learning Drop Box

For your convenience, you may deposit your original form in the green drop box at the entrance to our office provided you made a copy for your records. Our office is located in the Library Building, 4th Floor, Room 458.

In addition, Nancy Eckert (Room 458I) and Lisa Paige (Room 458G) have drop boxes on the wall panel, just outside their office. You may deposit forms there provided you've made a copy for your records.

Or you may mail the forms to:

Florida Gulf Coast University
Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
10501 FGCU Boulevard South
Fort Myers, FL  33965-6565
 
Be sure to keep a copy for your records until you receive your official FGCU diploma. Important!
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6.) Do I need to save a copy of my form?

Absolutely, yes.

Occasionally there is a discrepancy and the only way to rectify the situation is for us to ask you for your copy of the form. Otherwise, you will need to re-document your hours, which sometimes is hard to do as too much time has passed since you completed the hours. 

Sometimes students turn in their forms to their instructor or someone else on campus who say they'll forward your form. The best course of action is for you to turn in your form directly to the service-learning office to avoid delays and/or confusion.

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7.) Can I fax the office my service-learning hours?

We do not accept faxed or scanned forms.

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8.) Can you tell me how many hours I already have?

You can check service-learning hours on GULFLINE

Follow these step to find the hours on your unofficial transcript:

  1. Go to Student & Financial Aid
  2. Go to Student Records
  3. Go to Academic Transcript
  4. Click Submit
  5. Scroll down to Events (under Transcript Totals just above your GPA) you will see Service Learning Hours Earned
    • You may see a number total, OR.
    • You may see the word MET followed by a number total.

I'm a transfer student that submitted 40 hours and I don't see the word "completed". Why?

Your record won't say "MET" until the graduation list is delivered to us from the Office of the Registrar in the semester in which you are graduating.

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9.) I picked an agency, but they say I have to be trained before beginning my service-learning activity. Do I count those training hours as part of my service-learning?

A student is sometimes required to attend agency training prior to beginning service-learning work with that agency.  In this case, the student receives service-learning hours for the training as soon as an equal number of service hours have been completed with the agency.  For instance, if a student attends a 5-hour training session, then the student must perform an additional 5 hours or more for service. The student then claims a total of 10 hours (5 for training and 5 more for service). If a student does not complete an equal number of service hours, the training hours are forfeited.

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10.) How long will it take to process my form? I'm graduating this semester and want to meet the deadline.

Normally, your form will be processed within 30 days. When it's near the deadline for seniors to turn in their hours for graduation, it may take much longer. Please be patient with us as we receive thousands of forms during that time period.

Are you graduating this semester?

Please read these FAQs for Seniors:

What is the deadline?

The deadline for graduating seniors is posted on the home page of the Service-Learning website.

 

I’m a graduating senior, how long will it take to process my form?

Forms dropped off before the deadline may take a week to 10 days to process. Drop off your service-learning form by the deadline and you are guaranteed that your form will be processed in time for graduation.

What happens if I turn in my service-learning form after the deadline?

Your form goes on the bottom of the pile. Hundreds of other students turned in their forms before you and they get precedence. 

I haven’t finished all my hours yet? Can I still graduate if I’ve met all the other requirements?

Technically, you can “walk” in the graduation ceremony. A diploma is not issued until your service-learning hours are processed by the Office of Service-Learning and the Office of the Registrar has certified that you have completed the graduation requirements. Some students have had to reapply at the next graduation ceremony to get their diploma. The date of your graduation is the actual certification date, not when you “walked”. If you’re looking for a job, keep in mind that some employers want physical proof of your diploma.

I turned in my form more than 30 days ago? Why don’t I see the hours posted in Gulfline?

Have you properly filled out your form?

If not, incomplete service-learning forms are set aside. Forms that are filled out properly get top priority. Nearly 1,000 service-learning forms are turned in for graduation. From November 1 to January 1, it may take 30 days or more to process your form.

Why would a form be incomplete?

  • Wrong UIN
  • Not an original form (fax/emailed forms not acceptable)
  • Agency not qualified (must be a nonprofit, not-for-profit, or government agency)
  • No signature from faculty for course-based hours
  • No service-learning hours listed on the form
  • Agency representative did not sign the form
  • Hours exceeded maximum allowed for certain types of work (for example, dog sitting is allotted a maximum of 10 hours from a nonprofit agency, and no more)
  • Type of work unacceptable, i.e., proselytizing, commuting time, sleeping time (camp counselors)
  • No job description of work performed
  • Incorrect form used, did not use the form from the Service-Learning website
  • Attended training but did not volunteer afterwards
  • Illegible
  • Unable to reach student via Eagle email or phone

 

 

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11) I'm experiencing a problem with my form. How can I troubleshoot it?

Try some of these suggestions listed below:

I filled out my form online and submitted it. I don't see it. Where did it go?

Be sure to enter your Eagle Email address. Do not use spaces or periods in entering your email address. Forms go directly to your Eagle Email account, not Yahoo, Gmail, etc.

My form looks jibberish. What happened?

Not all browsers are compatible with the form. Try using Internet Explorer or Firefox.

I tried the steps above and I'm unable to print it out correctly. What next?

You may be using an older version of MS Word that does not support RTF (Rich Text Format). Go to a computer lab on campus and try to print it out.

I'm having a problem getting my form to print. What do I do?

Are you using a Mac? If so, please visit the Mac Lab in Reed Hall on the 2nd floor.

I tried all of the above solutions and I'm having still having a problem. Now what?

Contact Computing Services at 239-590-1188.

 

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12.) Can I use volunteer hours done prior to enrolling at FGCU toward my service-learning graduation requirement?

Only service-learning hours done since you received your acceptance letter to FGCU or hours done specifically for a service-learning course on the transcript from another university are counted at FGCU. We don’t have the staff to check “old” experiences, and they are probably volunteer or community service hours rather than service-learning hours.

If you still have questions, please email lpaige@fgcu.edu