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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
EN-13: Community Service

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.34 / 5.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Number of students enrolled for credit (headcount; part-time students, continuing education, and/or graduate students may be excluded):
40,742

Number of students engaged in community service (headcount):
18,171

Percentage of students engaged in community service:
44.60

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (community service hours)? (if data not available, respond 'No'):
Yes

Total number of student community service hours contributed during the most recent one-year period:
1,003,039.20

Number of annual community service hours contributed per student :
24.62

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Does the institution include community service achievements on student transcripts?:
No

Does the institution provide incentives for employees to participate in community service (on- or off-campus)? (Incentives may include voluntary leave, compensatory time, or other forms of positive recognition):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s employee community service initiatives:

Penn State University occupies a unique and vital fundraising role in the annual Centre County United Way Campaign. In 2016, over 35% of the total United Way dollars raised came from university employees who supported United Way through contributions and special event fundraisers. Penn State maintains an active Centre County United Way Steering Committee and contributes innumerable in-kind support services.

Many units on campus host a United Way committee, which works to inspire other faculty and staff to make a difference, encourages monetary contributions via payroll deduction, and raises additional funds through holding special events, such as sales of pizza, gift baskets, and raffle tickets, and social events such as an "office Olympics".

Many employees volunteer at the annual United Way Day of Caring, where faculty, staff, and students participate in a variety of work projects - such as painting, cleanup, and repairs - that benefit local community non-profit organizations. Further, employees are essential volunteers organizing and running the Trash to Treasure annual sale of student leftovers, and the Special Olympics competitions held each summer at Penn State.

Employees also provide support to the annual student-run IFC/ Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) fundraiser, described in Notes. For example, Penn State Food Services formed a committee to provide nutritional guidance and support for THON dancers. Some Transportation Services staff volunteer to work long hours to oversee parking at the event. Other employees support student-led activities and events.

The Penn State University Park campus offers an institutional-level annual service award, the Barash Award for Human Service, which recognizes a full- time member of the faculty, staff, or student body who has contributed most, apart from regular duties, to human causes, public service activities and organization, or the welfare of fellow humans.


Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Student numbers are based on the results of a Spring 2014 Student Experience survey, which is administered to undergraduates every 3 years by Student Affairs. We used the response to one question "During this current semester, how many hours do you spend in a typical week... volunteering/ participating in community service?", to estimate the number of students who participate (based on the percentage of respondents who reported >0 hours = 44.6%), and the total number of hours volunteered (based on the average hours per week spent by participating students =1.84).

Penn State is home to the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world, the IFC/ Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON. The 46-hour dance marathon, held on Penn State's University Park campus, raises money for the Four Diamonds Fund, a program at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital that helps families of children with cancer. Since its beginning in 1973, THON has raised more than $114 million. Through campus organizations and THON Committees, more than 15,000 students volunteer for THON each year.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.