Guidelines for Students in Service-Learning

As you begin your university service-learning placement work, please remember that you will be a representative of SUNY Oneonta in the community. As such, we ask you to carefully read and abide by the following guidelines created to assist you in having the most productive service-learning experience possible.

  1. Ask for help when in doubt. Your site supervisor understands the issues at your site and you are encouraged to approach her/him with questions or problems as they arise. They can assist you in determining the best way to respond in difficult or uncomfortable situations. You may also consult your course instructor or the Center for Social Responsibility & Community at the College.
  2. 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. Both the administrators and the people whom you serve rely on your punctuality and commitment to completing your service hours/project throughout your partnership.
  3. Call if you anticipate lateness or absence. Call your supervisor if you are unable to come in or if you anticipate being late. The site depends on your contributed services and will be at a loss if you fail to come in as scheduled. Be mindful of your commitment; people are counting on you.
  4. Respect the privacy of all clients. If you are privy to confidential information with regard to persons with whom you are working, i.e. organizational files, diagnostics, personal stories, etc., it is vital that you treat this information as privileged and private. You should use pseudonyms in referring to this information in your course assignments.
  5. Show respect for the agencies for whom you work. Placement within community programs is an educational opportunity and a privilege. Remember, not only are you serving the community, but the community is also serving you by investing valuable resources in your learning.
  6. Be appropriate in attitude, manners, and appearance. You are in a work situation and are expected to treat your supervisor and others with courtesy and kindness. Dress neatly, comfortably, and appropriately (check your site for its conduct and dress codes). Use formal names unless instructed otherwise. Set a positive standard for other students to follow as part of SUNY-Oneonta’s ongoing service-learning and volunteer programs.
  7. Be flexible. The level or intensity at the service site is not always predictable. Your flexibility to changing situations can assist the partnership in working smoothly and in producing positive outcomes for everyone involved.

In addition to the above expectations, as a participant in your community service- learning experience, you are also responsible for the following limitations.


  • report to your service site under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • give or loan money or other personal belongings to a client.
  • make promises or commitments to a client that neither you nor the organization can keep.
  • give a client or organizational representative a ride in a personal vehicle unless the person is authorized for transport. DO NOT transport a child by yourself.
  • tolerate verbal exchange of a sexual nature or engage in behavior that might be perceived as sexual with a client or agency representative.
  • tolerate verbal exchange or engage in behavior that might be perceived as discriminating against an individual on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Other Safety Issues:

  • Keep your automobile a non-attraction. Do not leave items visible in the car’s interior. Place valuable articles in the trunk prior to arrival.
  • If you take the bus, be sure to know the route and the bus fare.
  • In case of a breakdown or transportation problem, carry enough money to get home. Develop a community safety net of resources in your placement area.
  • Get to know your supervisor at the agency. Ask her/him questions about the area and get suggestions on what you should do if you find yourself in trouble.
  • Familiarize yourself with people, places, and things in the area that can be of assistance in times of emergency (e.g. the location of phones, 24-hour stores, police station, etc.).
  • Give the phone number of the agency where you’ll be serving to a roommate, friend, or relative before leaving for your placement site.

I have reviewed these guidelines and limitations.

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(Print this page, sign, and submit to the CSRC office.)

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