Charting the Volunteering Characteristics of College Students in a Land-Grant University
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Volunteerism in the undergraduate years can be a predictor highly correlated with remarkable increase in social integrity, civic-mindedness, (Astin & Sax, 1998; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Vogelgesang & Astin, 2000; Cruce & Moore, 2007, 2012; Johnson, 2014; Plante & Halman, 2016), continued participation after college (Astin et al., 2000) and selecting service-oriented careers (Astin et al., 1999), which are attributes for accomplishing the land-grant university service mission. Distinguishing these environmental characteristics that influence volunteering will substantially benefit universities and colleges in concentrating on these measures to increase student participation. This quantitative study was conducted to understand the volunteering characteristics of college students in a land-grant university. Participants of this study were 8,318 college students enrolled from 2013-2018, that completed the National Survey of Student Engagement questionnaire. The research model controlled for the demographic characteristics and examined the college experience measures that influenced the intensity of volunteering in college students. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, Pearson Correlation and Multinomial regression analysis. Results from the logistic regression analysis validated that the suggested set of predictors considerably increased the odds of predicting volunteerism in college students of a land-grant university. Among the study sample 50.5% students had volunteered 1-5 hours during college in a land-grant university. The environmental characteristic variables that demonstrated higher likelihood to volunteering were athletic involvement and membership in a social organization. The demographic variables that presented greater likelihood to volunteering were gender, age, and race. The current study results were consistent with previous findings that majors like engineering, physical science and mathematics were constantly challenged to incorporate service into the curriculum in ways that provided applicable and meaningful learning for the college students (Felder & Silverman, 1988). The land-grant university being predominantly white, with a majority of traditional age group students enrolled full-time has multiple student groups volunteering 1-5 hours per week, suggesting that the institution has an established inclusive volunteering program on campus. Generally, integrating volunteering into the academic curriculum among all majors, that are practical and applicable can substantially increase student engagement and support land-grant universities in effectively achieving their service mission.