How to Get Started

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Some instructors will assign a specific service site where you will conduct your hours.  Others may provide a list of community benefit organizations from which you must choose.  Still others will leave it up to you to find a site.  If you need assistance in identifying a place to do your service-learning hours, please contact the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at 559-278-7079.

Remember that there are over 700 community benefit organizations just in the Fresno area.  That means you have lots of choices.  However, you should start identifying and contacting sites right away.  The longer you wait, the more you risk!  Many sites fill all of their volunteer openings quickly.  Also, sites often have applications and screening requirements that may take time to complete.  Start your search for a service-learning site during the first couple of weeks of the semester and be persistent, but polite when attempting to contact service sites.

Once you have selected an organization there are a few things you must do prior to your first service date.

Learning Plan

The Learning Plan is an extremely important form that must be completed prior to starting your service-learning hours! Your instructor should provide you with a Learning Plan in the beginning of the semester. This is an official document that specifies your responsibilities at the Service-Learning site. You must review, sign the form, have it signed by your community partner representative, then submit it to your instructor before beginning your service-learning hours. If you need a generic version of the Learning Plan used at Fresno State, you can download one here.

Service Application

Additionally, you may be asked to complete an application or other forms as required by the agency where you serve. The community based organization, and/or your instructor, will provide you with this form and it should be completed prior to beginning your service.

Students working in a service activity are subject to the same Federal and State employment laws as employees. While students tend to enjoy their service time they should not expose our Community Partners to any violation. Be sure to take appropriate breaks and meal periods as required by law.

Student Tracking Sheet

All service-learning students are strongly encouraged to use the “Student Tracking Sheet” to log and verify their service hours.

Insurance Coverage

The University does provide professional and general liability insurance for students enrolled in Service-Learning courses (SAFECLIP)The coverage commences while the student is at the site performing agreed upon service-learning activities. Students MUST sign-in at community site each time they provide service and choose to perform their service at an approved service-learning site in order for the coverage to be valid. Please note: the university does not provide auto liability coverage for students.

Students may want to familiarize themselves with the Policies and Procedures regarding Discrimination and Harassment available on the Human Resources EEO/Diversity web page. Be sure that you never behave in a manner that could be considered discriminating or harassing. If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment by anyone at your service-learning site you should contact your professor immediately and report the problem.

NEXT: Why Service-Learning and What Is My Role?