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Service 101: Pre-Service Orientation and Reflection

About Service 101

Service 101 provides introductory information about service and is required to complete the Certificate in Service Learning. This is not a class.

After reviewing the Service 101 resources provided on this webpage, you will need to respond to reflection questions available on your service learning certificate record in myKU Portal. In the reflection, specify which article/video you are referencing.

To complete the Service 101 component of the Certificate in Service Learning:

Review the accordions below. Then, go to your service learning certificate record in EL Certs portal and submit your responses to the reflection prompts. Responses should be at least 100 words per question.

As you begin your service learning partnership with a community organization, you will be entering your work in the community as a representative of the University of Kansas and, as such, we ask that you carefully read through and abide by the following guidelines to assist you in having the most meaningful and worthwhile experience possible.

Go over these guidelines with your service supervisor, noting in the margins any changes that need to be made such that the guidelines better fit your service site.


Ask for help when in doubt: Your site supervisor understands the issues at your site best and can assist you in determining the best way to respond to difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Be punctual and responsible: Although you are volunteering your time, you are participating in the organization as a reliable, trustworthy and contributing member of the team. Those with whom you work will depend on your punctuality and commitment to completing your service hours throughout your partnership.

Call if you anticipate lateness or absence: Call the site supervisor with as much notice as possible if you are unable to come in or if you anticipate being late. Be mindful of your commitment to serving with your community.

Respect the privacy of all clients: If you are privy to confidential information with regard to the persons with whom you are working (i.e., organizational files, diagnostics, personal stories, etc.) it is vital that you treat it as privileged information. You should use pseudonyms in your course assignments if you are referring to clients or the people with whom you work with at the organization.

Show respect for the community organization you work for: Placement within community programs is an educational opportunity and an honor. Keep in mind, not only are you serving the community, but the community is serving you by investing valuable resources in your learning.

Act appropriately: Treat your supervisor and others with courtesy and kindness. Dress comfortably, neatly and appropriately. Use formal names unless instructed otherwise.

Be flexible: The level or intensity of activity at a community site is not always predictable. Your flexibility to changing situations can assist the partnership in working smoothly and producing positive outcomes for everyone involved.

DON’T report to your community organization under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

DON’T give or loan a client money or other personal belongings.

DON’T make promises or commitments to a client you cannot keep.

DON’T give a client or community organization representative a ride in a personal vehicle.

DON’T tolerate verbal exchange of a sexual nature or engage in behavior that might be perceived as sexual with a client or community organization representative.

DON’T tolerate verbal exchange or engage in behavior that might be perceived as discriminating against an individual on the basis of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or ethnicity.

DON’T engage in any type of business with clients during the term of your community work.

DON’T enter into personal relationships with a client or community organization representative during the term of your community work. Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times. Every site has its own rules, policies, procedures, protocols and expectations, for which you are responsible. Familiarizing yourself with the workings of the organization will contribute to the success of your experience.

Adapted from Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice, Research, and Learning

Disclaimer: this is how we are defining these words in this context

First, let's define SERVICE
We use the term service as a way to encompass all ways that students engage in unpaid contributions to their communities. This term service is sometimes used interchangeable with volunteering, but can also include a variety of other community engagement efforts, such as advocacy, mentoring, policy, social innovation, research, etc. See Pathways to Service.

Equality vs Equity
Equality is treating everyone the same. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equity can provide a level playing field to those disenfranchised by an unequal distribution of opportunities and privileges in society.

Ethical Service
We define ethical service as respectful service experiences that prioritize the dignity of the people in a community. Understanding ethical service helps us avoid perpetuating stereotypes, misconceptions, and behaviors that cause unintended harm in communities. See White Savior Industrial Complex.

Social Responsibility
Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large (Wikipedia: Social Responsibility).

A form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity.

White Savior Complex (Wikipedia: White Savior Complex)

“The White Savior Industrial Complex is not about justice. It is about having a big emotional experience that validates privilege” -- Teju Cole

“A White Savior is a common trope used in books, films, and as a way of interpreting actual history. It’s also a perspective shared by many white people as we move through the world. In the simplest terms, it’s when a white character or person rescues people of color from their oppression. The White Savior is portrayed as the good one, the one that we’re meant to identify with as we watch or read these narratives.” -- Celia Edall (The White Savior Problem, Everyday Feminism)

The Pathways to Service describe the variety of ways people can use their knowledge, skills, and talents to improve their communities. Many of these pathways overlap, allowing you diverse experiences to help you determine which pathways are the best fit for you.

Explore the Pathways to Service

Review the content and questions below. If you are pursuing the Certificate in Service Learning, submit your responses to these questions through the EL Certs portal. Responses should be at least 100 words per question. 


Review the Community Tool Box's webpage "Ethical Issues in Community Interventions" and four of the CSL's "Social Change at KU and Beyond" videos. 

Watch "What is the Social Change Wheel?" and three of the strategy-specific videos (Volunteering and Direct Service, Socially Responsible Daily Behavior, etc.). 

Question 1: There are a variety of strategies you can engage in to contribute to social change in your community. How can you ethically and sustainably benefit society using the skills you learn at KU? Be sure to frame your answer around the three strategy-specific Social Change videos you watched, as well as insights from the CTB webpage on ethical issues. 


If you're completing Service 101 for the purpose of taking a service learning class and/or completing your Certificate in Service Learning, listen to "Service Learning 101: Your Guide to the Essentials" and read "Analyzing the Root Causes of Problems."

If you're completing Service 101 for the purpose of volunteering as an individual or with a student organization/group, review the CSL's Pathways to Service model and read "Identifying Targets and Agents of Change."

Question 2: Select two main concepts from the webpages/articles above that resonated with you. Explain them, and describe why they stuck out. Include an example of one consideration you will keep in mind when engaging in future service activities.


Review the KU CSL Community Engagement Tool KitPick three of the eight action framework components (Assess, Plan, Sustain, etc.) to explore more deeply. 

Question 3: What is the importance of the community's perspective when participating in service projects? Think specifically in the context of the framework components you reviewed. 

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