The Center for Service and Learning supports the fourth aim of a BYU Education—“lifelong learning and service”--by coordinating service opportunities in the local community for BYU students.
The Center’s mission statement says, “Our mission is to provide every student with a meaningful service opportunity. We seek to instill in the heart and mind a desire to give lifelong service.” In order to fulfill this mission, the Center offers 56 community service programs, which serve individuals who have cognitive or physical disabilities, children and the elderly, at-risk children, and providing humanitarian service. Some of these programs originate in the Center, but many of them are aligned with non-profit agencies in the community, such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Action, and Best Buddies. Each community service program is administered by student leaders, all of whom are volunteers.
The diversity of these student-run community service programs is one of the great strengths of organized service at BYU. Because these programs cover a range of interests, BYU students are likely to find service opportunities which are meaningful to them. In addition, the diversity and number of programs at the Center place student volunteers throughout the community, rather than concentrating them in just one area, thereby increasing BYU’s presence and providing BYU students with a wide range of community experiences.
Through the Center, 25,000 BYU students volunteered 111,000 hours of service during 2010. The local United Way calculates each hour of volunteer service at $20.85. The economic impact of those hours of service is estimated by the United Way to be over $2.3 million. But the true impact is in the academic, social, spiritual, and leadership growth of the students who are participating. The habits of service they are developing will continue to contribute to their lives and communities far into the future.