SRU launches RockServe to increase community engagement
Slippery Rock University’s Office for Community-Engaged Learning recently launched a webpage, RockServe, where students looking to volunteer are connected with community partners, faculty and student organizations.
March 29, 2021
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University is reimagining the way in which students are interacting with the larger Butler County community through RockServe, SRU's new digital community-engagement platform where students looking to volunteer are connected with community partners, faculty and student organizations.
RockServe was launched earlier this semester by SRU's Office for Community-Engaged Learning with the goal of serving as a virtual space dedicated to volunteerism. Previously, opportunities were posted to SRU's digital platform for student organizations, CORE, where SRU offices and organizations post events with subject matter ranging from entertainment to education and service.
"As CORE is targeted as a campus engagement platform, we wanted a platform that was focused on volunteerism in the larger community and accessible to more than just those affiliated with the University," said Laura Villers, associate director of community-engaged service and leadership.
Since its launch, eight community partners have used the platform to advertise service days and projects, including SRU's Bonner Program, the Macoskey Center, Slippery Rock Community Library, and the Blind Association of Butler and Armstrong Counties.
So far, more than 2,400 volunteers have used the platform to participate in service days and projects. Villers anticipates the service will only grow through its use by interested community partners. The belief is that getting faculty and student organizations more involved will aid in increasing the various service opportunities.
"We wanted to figure out how to get students off campus and integrate them with the community," said Villers. "We thought, 'How can we leverage this service to increase community engagement long-term?'"
In addition to helping students become more connected with the larger Slippery Rock community, the platform also helps in tracking service work participation in order to validate the work being performed and to assist community partners with funding.
"This service work is more than a number of service hours," said Villers. "There is a lot of data that is slipping through the cracks that would be very useful in writing grants and help our community partners to bolster their programming.
"Through this multifunctional platform, we are starting to elevate practices in volunteer management, and by doing so, we're getting a snapshot of what our community is actually doing and how engaged Slippery Rock Borough really is."
To help community partners, faculty and student organizations learn more on how to use RockServe, the OCEL will be hosting training programs. A faculty session is set for 12:30 p.m., March 30; a student session for 5 p.m., March 31, and a community session for 12:30 p.m., April 8.
To find volunteer opportunities or to sign up for a training day, visit the RockServe webpage.
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