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Award Program FAQs
Why should I participate?
Serving will afford you the opportunity to explore careers, apply course work, fulfill personal values and develop meaningful relationships while deepening your roots in our community. Your participation in this program will provide you with quantifiable hours and real-life scenarios for graduate school and job applications as well as the prestige of noting the honor and award on your resume. We are positive that, when coupled with reflection, participation in this program will prove valuable. Your participation will also aid the larger mission of quantifying and summarizing the impact that the collective community at Brandeis makes, which helps us achieve funding as well as set future goals and standards.
What is required of me to participate in the program?
- Complete online registration
- Complete and document community service hours regularly (at least monthly)
- Submit a brief reflection essay
- Commitment to Community Service Pledge
- Complete a Community Service Waiver and CORI form (if required)
What is the Community Service Pledge?
The community service pledge represents an ongoing commitment to represent Brandeis as an agent of the institution during your service work in the community. The pledge reminds you that participation and the tracking of hours for the Commitment to Service Award is founded on trust and honesty to ensure its prestige and success. The pledge is inspiring in its nature, but also grounded in Brandeis University’s Rights and Responsibilities.
What are the three tiers of the Commitment to Service Award?
Bronze- Documenting of 300 hours of service
Silver - Documenting of 600 hours of service
Gold - Documenting of 900 hours of service
What are the approved types of service?
Please review this FAQ, program website, and handouts for full disclosure of approved programs and service hours.
How do I log and track my volunteer hours?|
The process is rather simple. You simply log in here after each service opportunity (or at least each month). Only hours logged in the official system will be approved. All hours should be logged in decimals and rounded to the nearest 15 minutes.
Should I track hours related to transportation and reflection?
Yes, we understand the importance of both in your community engagement and permit all students to track up to a combined total of 15 hours of reflection and transportation per semester.
Do my community service hours during the summer count toward this program?
If you are enrolled as a Brandeis student then yes, hours from volunteering over the summer can count toward the program. All hours must adhere to the approved community service standards.
Can I include my community service hours while abroad?
Yes, if you are in an approved study abroad program then your hours abroad can count. Please continue to document your hours while abroad on an ongoing basis.
If I am a transfer student can the hours I completed at my previous institution count for part of this program?
Yes, these hours can count, but you must have a staff advisor from your previous institution submit a letter on official letterhead documenting your community service experiences hours. A hard copy of this letter can be mailed to Lucas Malo, Brandeis University MS 203, Waltham, MA 02453 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I volunteer independently of a Brandeis group?
If as a volunteer you are representing yourself as a Brandeis student, although not through a structured Brandeis program, then yes, you can count these hours if you are enrolled in courses at Brandeis University. Be advised that if Brandeis is unfamiliar with the organization we reserve the right to contact your volunteer site supervisor.
Can I participate in both the AmeriCorps Student Leaders in Service Program?
Yes, and you can count your hours toward both programs. The only exception is that service hours abroad or international cannot count toward the AmeriCorps program, but do count toward this award.
Is there a fee to participate in this program?
No, the program and awards are free to all undergraduate students who meet the program requirements.
Should I document participation in the Commitment to Service program on my resume?
Yes, we strongly encourage you to meet with a Hiatt advisor to best represent this opportunity on your resume and during interviews.
What does the award include?
Your Commitment to Service Award will include a letter from Administration and a memorable pin keepsake. If you achieve the gold pin you will be invited to attend a special formal dinner with your peers, alumni and university administration. Your name will also be listed on the Department of Community Service Website.
Is the reflective essay mandatory to complete the program?
Yes, written reflection is a powerful way to document your learning and enhance your service experience. We encourage you to complete this reflection at any point during your experience where you felt the greatest amount of development. Please do not save this to the very end.
Am I required to attend the Celebration of Service to receive my award?
You are not required to attend the event; however, we hope that you will make arrangements to be recognized for your contributions and celebrate both you and many members of our community.
Do I need a reference to participate in the program?
No, the program is open to all undergraduate students who commit to the four award requirements.
Do all of my service hours have to be completed at the same organization?
No, in fact we encourage you to volunteer through a variety of outlets and with multiple organizations.
Do community service hours completed prior to enrolling in the program count toward my award?
This question will be explored on a case by case basis. In general, we encourage all students to enroll immediately. Hours completed during Volunteer Fest as an incoming student can be counted prior to enrollment. If you are an upperclassman being grandfathered into the program please see special requirements.
Am I eligible to earn the Commitment to Service Award and the Student Leadership Cords?
Yes, you are eligible for both programs.
Do I have to complete a Community Service Volunteer Waiver?
Yes, if you are not volunteering as part of a Community-Engaged Learning course then a volunteer waiver is required for all community service projects. If you are unsure if you need to complete a waiver please contact the Department of Community Service staff.
If I graduate early do I need to complete the same number of hours to receive the award?
Yes, the requirements remain the same shall you chose to graduate early.
If I am a mid-year, do I need to complete the same number of hours to receive the award?
Yes, the requirements remain the same for mid-year students. If you participate in a Brandeis approved program prior to arriving to campus in January, the direct service hours can be included with the submission of an hours verification letter.
What is the hours verification letter?
A staff member from your previous institution/immersion program/volunteer site must submit a letter on official letterhead documenting your community service experiences' hours. A hard copy of this letter can be mailed to Lucas Malo, Brandeis University MS 203, Waltham, MA 02453 or emailed to email@example.com
What If I am a sophomore, junior or senior and did not track my previous hours?
At this time if you are a rising senior then you will only need ¼ of the program community service hours, Juniors ½, and sophomores ¾. All incoming students of the class of 2016 will strive for the quantity of hours listed above.
Current Sophomores need to complete 225 (bronze), 450 (silver), 675 (gold) hours
Current Juniors need to complete 150 (bronze), 300 (silver), 450 (gold) hours
Current Seniors need to complete 75 (bronze), 150 (silver), 225 (gold) hours
Can my volunteer ours for on-campus events and leadership positions be included (Fall Fest, OL, committee work, etc.?
At this time during our pilot years we are not permitting students to count these hours in the Commitment to Service Award program.
Can I count hours from my advocacy work or club membership?
At this time we are not permitting students to submit hours for participation and organization of advocacy activities. If you think you may have special community service related involvement please contact the Department of Community Service staff.
Can I track my hours spent fundraising?
Yes, you can count your hours spent fundraising for a non-profit or community organization. There are stipulations on the amount of hours that can count in the Commitment to Service Award program so please connect with a member of the Department of Community Service for verification. As an example, if you are in a dance performance group and are donating final performance proceeds to a non-profit, you are able to count the FINAL Rehearsal and performance, but not every rehearsal.
If I am participating in an unpaid internship at a non-profit or community site, can I count these hours?
The current structure of the program does not permit you to directly count all of your hours at these sites; however, if you think that you have extenuating circumstances we requests that you meet with a member of the Department of Community Service staff who will request that you outline your internship responsibilities and approval may be granted by the approval committee on a case by case basis.
What is the Hours Verification Committee?
As this is our pilot year of this program we acknowledge that we may discover exceptions to program policies and requirements. There will be a committee of students, faculty and staff who will make determining decisions about specific hours verification.
What does a Pilot program mean?
As this award program is in its early years it means that we are exploring all possible opportunities, guidelines and policies affiliated with the program. The Department of Community Service reserves the right to make edits or changes to the program policies at any time. We will be transparent in these policies and keep them updated on the Commitment to Service Award homepage.
I have ideas about this program...who do I tell?
We would love to hear your ideas, please contact a member of the Department of Community Service team to schedule a meeting.