|A Fifth Consecutive Year of Increase in Community Service Hours at Lebanon Valley College
Lebanon Valley College students reported 23,482 hours of service during the 2012–2013 academic year, equaling $519,891 worth of service, mostly for the greater Lebanon community. The annual total is the highest since the standards for qualified hours were refined five years ago. Students reported 20,039 qualified service hours in 2011–2012, 17,877 service hours in 2010–2011, 15,671 hours in 2009–2010, and 13,334 qualified hours in 2008–2009.
Qualified community service hours represent time dedicated to the interests of others for which an individual does not receive financial compensation. The hours must be served during the academic year for work which directly benefits either (1) people experiencing poverty, discrimination, abuse, poor health, old age, and/or physical-mental limitations or (2) the protection of animals or the environment. Specific guidelines regulate the reporting of hours served as part of an academic course, traveling to and from service sites, etc.
Sixteen LVC Students Excel in Community Service
During the 2012–2013 academic year, 16 students earned sufficient community service hours to qualify for Gold Community Service Awards, having served more than 100 hours and having completed a multi-day residential service project: Laura Blacker of Allentown; Erik Brandt of Lebanon; Charelle Bryant of Annville; Rosemary Bucher of Palmyra; Kelly Fahnestock of Carlisle; Amanda Hanna of Annville; Jacquelyn Hoover of Rheems; Stephanie Hostetter of New Freedom; Darcie Jenkins of Oil City; Michael Lebo of Sinking Spring; Alyse Morgan of Annville; Sasha Birosik of Schuylkill Haven; Cassondra Diaz of Harleysville; Julia Hurley of Carlisle; Betty Ross of Pequannock, N.J.; and Sarah Solomon of Millville.
Several of the 2013 recipients worked with the Camp Hill-based service organization "Lend a Hand" over spring break on a trip to Pleasant Beach, N.J. The group installed drywall and subflooring and painted the interior of homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Other Gold Award recipients served through student organizations Alpha Phi Omega, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Special Olympics ("Community Dutchmen"), and Servants of Christ.
An awards system has been developed as an incentive for students to serve the community. Service awards are posted to the student's Job Center Profile where prospective employees may note the involvement. Students who serve 25–60 hours receive a Bronze Community Service Award, 61–99 hours of service merit a Silver Award, and more than 100 hours of service in addition to participation in a residential project of at least three days earns students a Gold Award.
Three Outstanding Community Service Organizations
Overall, the students represented 57 student organizations, athletic teams, and academic departments. Three campus groups were recognized for completing more qualified service hours than other organizations.
LVC's Track & Field Team was noted as the athletic team completing the most community service for the year. The team hosted a Track & Field clinic for children, made holiday cards to deliver to nursing homes, colored play houses for Habitat For Humanity, and made puppets for the Lebanon School District, noting 332 hours of service in the process.
Mini THON at LVC was recognized for being the student organization reporting the most community service hours. Under the leadership of Kelly Palmquist of Landisville and William Gartrell of Brodheadsville, the organization completed a total of 702 service hours this past academic year. The group sponsored a fund-raiser, hosted a spaghetti dinner, and participated in Relay for Life, among other activities.
LVC's Valley Volunteers reported 995 hours of campus service. Serving through LVC's Office of Admission, students involved in Valley Volunteers provide full campus tours to prospective students without receiving financial compensation.
Valuing Community Service
According to the Independent Sector, a coalition of leading nonprofits, corporations, and foundations, volunteer time was valued at $22.14 per hour during 2012. The dollar value of the students' volunteer time was arrived at by multiplying their 23,482 hours of service by that hourly rate. This figure is based on the average hourly earnings of all production and non-supervisory workers on private non-farm payrolls (as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The Independent Sector increases this figure by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.
The community service figures come from data compiled by Rev. Paul M. Fullmer, LVC's chaplain and director of community service and volunteerism. Fullmer gathers community service information on monthly reports from all student organization presidents and athletic coaches, asking that they report on the times, dates, hours, number of participants, etc. involved in community service. These forms are then compiled in a database for tracking purposes.