During the 2019-20 school year, more than 30,000 students and 295 campus groups at UT Austin have been using the GivePulse platform to streamline all of their volunteering activities—from searching for opportunities, to logging hours to scheduling shifts. Now with a $13,333 Green Fund grant managed by the Office of Sustainability, the DDCE’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) can significantly upgrade their GivePulse system, adding more features that will expand volunteer outreach and enhance overall user experience among thousands of students, faculty and staff.
Starting in spring 2021, the GivePulse widget will be embedded into the Canvas learning management system, increasing visibility of volunteer opportunities on campus and out in the community. The new system will also directly load courses and rosters into GivePulse, making it easier for instructors to manage student activities.
Another new feature includes measurement tools that correlate academic success with volunteer work. For the first time ever, the CCE will access valuable data based on students’ majors, thus providing a better understanding of volunteer activities across the university.
“National data show that volunteer work and experiential learning are correlated to higher GPAs and graduate rates,” says Amory Krueger, director of student engagement programs. “Now, with this new tracking tool, we can directly show the impact of service, which will help us determine what’s most effective and allow us to secure more funding for service-learning programs and initiatives.”
The grant will also fund a 20-hour graduate student assistant position dedicated to supporting GivePulse users. This is the first position entirely focused on enhancing the user experience by answering calls, troubleshooting technical issues and offering trainings and resources. This will also be a big benefit for the thousands of staff members who use the platform for various community service projects.
To date, community service activities facilitated by the CCE have resulted in an economic impact totaling over $4 million. With this new GivePulse system, Krueger expects to see this number significantly grow.
“We at the Center for Community Engagement are thrilled to be able to enhance opportunities for our students to do well by doing good in the community, and we’re grateful to be able to renew our continued commitment to public service in those communities off the Forty Acres,” said Suchitra Gururaj, assistant vice president for Community and Economic Engagement in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Visit the CCE website for more information about service learning programs and student-run volunteer opportunities—including the university-wide community-building initiative The Project—and how to get started with GivePulse.