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Center for Community Engagement

Citizen Scholars FAQ

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What counts as service hours? 
The most common way to serve is by volunteering with a community organization (e.g. coaching, tutoring, mentoring, helping at nonprofit events, working at food pantries, schools, nursing homes, etc.). Work done for for-profit businesses or activities that only benefit a church do not count, and hours are never awarded for donations or items. Students may earn one hour per animal per day for fostering or doing a day out with an animal from the animal shelter. Additional details here.

How do I report service hours? 
Log in to Get Connected ( by using the orange USM student button and click “Report Service Hours." You can also check in/check out at service events but they have to be listed on Get Connected and you have to sign up for them first. When you report hours, be sure to select Citizen Scholars as one of your User Groups. Here's a video on how to Report Service Hours

What are considered community-engaged learning experiences?

  • Academic Service-Learning Classes are registered with the CCE office. A list of ASL classes is available online. In these classes, a service component (project or community placement) of at least 15 hours helps students attain course objectives, meets a community-identified need, and involves structured reflection on the service. You can also propose a ASL Track to any class. 
  • Approved Non-Profit Internships, Jobs, or Practicums allow students to gain career or skill knowledge over the duration of a semester through site placement under the guidance of a qualified individual. To count toward the Citizen Scholars requirement, internships or practicums must be with nonprofit, community, or governmental organizations, PK- 12 public schools, or the philanthropic arm of a for-profit organization. 
  • Approved Service Immersion Experience involve travel to diverse communities around the country and world where students work on meaningful service projects and discover new cultures and traditions. To qualify as a Citizen Scholar experience, service cannot be simply ministry or spreading religious doctrine. 
  • Approved Community Engaged Research is a significant experience carried out over at least one semester in which students produce research or a project that is beneficial to a community organization or the public good. 
  • Approved Community-Engaged Honors Thesis is an Honors Thesis which meets the requirements of the Southern Miss Honors College and is conducted through collaboration with a community-based organization. The collected information and/or created project must benefit members of an underserved group, a community organization, or the public good.
  • Approved Community-Engaged Leadership Project:
    • Qualifying leadership projects are expected to have taken at least one semester to plan, prepare, or execute. The project must have been significant enough for you to learn leadership skills, or to improve or demonstrate leadership skills you already have. It should allow for you to develop leadership skills as someone that an organization is depending on for a significant event or accomplishment to occur.

    • Your project must present an opportunity for planning, development, and leadership. A project that is easily implemented, such as a blood drive, collection drive, or small-scale event, will typically not be sufficient. Projects should have defined outcomes, timelines, and an identified community/school collaborator. 
    • If the project is a group effort, the student submitting the experience should be considered the head person in charge of the project. No more than one person may receive credit for working on the same community leadership project. 

How do I know if my community engaged learning experience will count? 
Email us at cceFREEMississippi with information about your experience and we will let you know ASAP if it counts. 

Where can I find community-engaged learning experiences to complete?

How do I report my community-engaged learning experiences to the program?
You will need to submit this form when you complete an experience. This is how we will track your completion of program requirements.  

How do I propose an ASL Track to my class? 
This is for students who make special arrangements with their professors to add a service-learning component to a class that is not already designated as ASL. Prior to the Add/Drop Date of your course, both you and your professor must complete the service-learning track contract, which outlines :

  • How many service hours you will complete over the semester
  • How service relates to course learning objectives
  • What type of reflection component you will submit upon completion
  • What grade you must earn to receive the service-learning credit

Once completed, email the form to cceFREEMississippi, drop by 116 Harkins Hall, or mail to Box 5211.

How long do I have to complete the Citizen Scholar requirements?
All service hours must be complete by the end of the semester prior to your graduating semester.  Your community-engaged learning experience should also be completed by the end of the semester prior to your graduating semester, unless granted an exception by CCE (exceptions are granted due to practicums, service-learning courses, and Honors Theses occuring during a students' last semester). 

Deadlines for Fall Graduates
August 30 of graduating semester - 100 community service hours entered in Get Connected
August 30 of graduating semester - Complete community-engaged learning experience,  unless previously granted exception 
October 1 of graduating semester-– Last date to submit community-engaged learning experience form
October 31 of graduating semester--  Deadline to complete reflective exit interview

Spring graduates
December 31 of prior semester-– 100 community service hours entered in Get Connected
December 31 of prior semester-  - Complete community-engaged learning experience, unless previously granted exception 
March 1 of graduating semester-– Last date to submit community-engaged learning experience form
March 31 of graduating semester- Deadline to complete reflective exit interview


Contact Us

Center for Community Engagement
116 Harkins Hall
118 College Dr. #5211

Hattiesburg Campus

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