About Community Service

There is a distinction between community service, citizenship and philanthropy. Students should familiarize themselves with how the University of West Florida chooses to distinguish these three concepts.

Community Service

A voluntary donation of time and effort to the benefit of a community-based registered nonprofit organization to include a government entity, faith-based organization, K-20 educational institution, or health-care establishment/hospital.

Addresses a social issue or problem, such as, but not limited to:

  • Preservation of the environment and/or the protection of historical sites.
  • Promotion of the health, welfare, and safety of the community.
  • Improvement of the standard of living for residents of the community.
  • Encouragement of the growth of the arts in the community.
  • Improvement and enrichment of the lives of the mentally and/or physically disabled of the community.
  • Promotion of quality life for the senior citizens of the community.
  • Provision of leadership, guidance, and activities for the youth of the community.

Some social issues categories include abuse issues, animal rights issues, environmental issues, diversity issues, elderly citizen issues, health issues, life issues, mentally/physically challenged individual issues, mentoring students, need-based/poverty issues, and tutoring.

Community service must be completed off campus with a registered nonprofit organization or on campus with a registered nonprofit organization that supports a community service hosted on campus. Only community service hours completed through an unpaid position with a registered nonprofit organization are accepted. Tabling and fundraising events do not count as community service.

As an Academic Course Requirement

Community service can be connected to an academic course in the form of service learning, field study, or internship. The required number of hours to complete is determined by the student’s professor. A student should check with his/her department to obtain eligibility and registration information.  

As a Student Organization Requirement

Student Organization members may receive credit for community service hours. In order for the hours to count towards the end of the year service awards, the hours completed must be within the guidelines of community service outlined above. However, if a student organization collects volunteer hours from its organization members, it is up to the organization for what counts as volunteer hours.

For example, helping set up for a student organization event does not count as community service hours for the Student Leadership Awards nor the Student Involvement hours tracking process. However, if the organization wants to award credit to the members that help with event set up, that is up to the student organization.

Need assistance with finding a community service experience? Contact Keaton West at 850.474.3369 or kwest@uwf.edu.

As an Individual Service Experience

A student may complete community service hours at any time and count those hours as an Individual Volunteer Experience. 

A student cannot count the same community service hours for both a student organization volunteer project and an academic course assignment. 


To practice citizenship is to work for positive change on behalf of others and the community by being responsibly connected to the community and society. For an active citizen, the community becomes a priority in values and life choices.


Philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others through the giving of gifts, usually monetary in nature, to humanitarian or charitable organizations. These types of events include Relay For Life, Dance Marathon, and other similar fundraising events.