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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

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 thatan 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 details 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 CSL staff at: or call us at 304-293-8761 prior to beginning service.