We Measure the Impact of Our Service One Moment at a Time

At GW, our service to the community is counted not only thousands of hours, but also in the difference we're making in our backyard and around the world. It’s part of a culture fostered at the university where one's passion for changing the world is encouraged and supported. Our new students are welcomed into that culture every September during Freshman Day of Service.

This fall, while some college students at other schools were still learning their way around campus, GW students logged 8,400 hours of community service at 35 sites throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland—in a single day. 

Service is so ingrained in our culture that it’s a presidential priority. Students can apply for service-learning fellowships or find the service program that's right for them through the Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. Our efforts were even recognized by Michelle Obama. That’s right. The First Lady challenged GW students, faculty and staff to perform 100,000 hours of community service in 2009 and we answered by doing 163,980 hours in nine months. Since then, GW has broken that record every year; in 2011, as a community we logged more than 252,000 hours.

But at GW, making a difference is more than just numbers or an occasional trip to a school or soup kitchen. With programs like Jumpstart and DC Reads our students our regularly placed in local schools to improve literacy and give new opportunities to children in low-income neighborhoods. GW support community partnerships locally through programs like the Neighbors Project and serve both nationally and globally through GW Alternative Breaks programs.

Our faculty members are taking the lead in combining research and teaching with community improvement and engagement. They make service to the community a part of the curriculum with courses like:

Our graduates then use the knowledge gained at GW to follow career paths that make a lasting difference in communities at home and abroad. From being the No. 1 school of our size for student entering the Peace Corps to being one of the top feeder schools for Teach for America and other AmeriCorps programs, our impact is undeniable.

It’s this fully integrated approach to service that makes a difference, one moment at a time.