Youngstown State University now offers an additional graduation honor for students who take courses with a service component.
Students who have completed 12 semester hours of coursework with a service component qualify to become Service Learning Citizen Scholars upon graduation. Students must also maintain a 2.75 GPA and earn a “B” or better in the courses to qualify.
The Service Learning Citizen Scholars Program stems from the YSU 2020 Strategic Plan. Service learning is part of the bigger project of the student engagement team.
“We want students to have these experiences outside of the classroom,” said Laura McCaskey, the program’s coordinator.
McCaskey said students are recognized at graduation with a stole for their robe and can include the honor on resumes.
“Anything extra on a resume is a conversation piece,” McCaskey said.
The service element has to serve both students and the community.
“We call it closing the loop,” McCaskey said.
In addition, students can work with teachers to create a service-learning element to a course that would not normally have one.
McCaskey said she feels the program is not well enough known, but said it is still growing.
She is in the process of developing a Web page for the program outside of the Williamson College of Business Administration’s website because the program is available to all YSU students.
“So many students at YSU are involved in civic engagement activities through their classes and student organizations,” said Ronald Shaklee, director of the University Scholars and Honors programs. “More students should take advantage of the recognition they would receive by pursuing the completion of the Service Learning Citizen Scholar Program.”