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Service Requirement Guidelines

Students often ask where they can find service opportunities. Opportunities can be found in CTTalk emails, through other student and community organizations, and at student organizations affiliated with the Einhorn Center in 300 Kennedy Hall. Please speak with a Tradition staff member if you are having difficulty locating opportunities or have questions about the service requirement.

Distribution Requirement

To renew your Tradition Fellowship or to apply to the fellowship for the first time, one of the requirements you must meet involves service. You must demonstrate your continued commitment to service by contributing a minimum of 100 hours of service (which must include a minimum of 15 community service hours). The Tradition breaks Service down into two categories:

1. Community Service (includes service performed in Ithaca, your hometown, your study abroad location, etc.)
2. Campus Service (includes participation in Varsity/Junior Varsity Athletics OR substantial service to a campus organization or club sport or Cornell University.)

**You may fulfill your service requirement however you like as long as you complete at least 15 hours of Community Service (all of your service hours may be community service, but you must have a minimum of 15 hours).**

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Determine Whether Something Counts as Community Service or Campus Service? To determine whether an activity is community service or campus service, ask the question, "Who benefits?" If your service primarily benefits a prospective or current student or an alumnus, your activity is likely campus service. If your service primarily benefits member(s) of a community outside of Cornell (i.e. Ithaca, your hometown), your activity is likely community service. When in doubt, please contact the Tradition Office.

What if I Receive Academic Credit for an Activity? Does Research Count? Activities that are completed for academic credit or as part of a course requirement do not meet the count toward the Tradition service requirement. Research experiences, while often very valuable to students, also do not fulfill the requirement.

Can I Volunteer (instead of work) for an Employer for my Service Requirement? Completing work (extra or otherwise) for an employer without being paid does not meet the intent of the Tradition service requirement. Similarly, taking a position typically offered for pay and not accepting payment does not fulfill the requirement.

What About Tradition Student Advisory Committee(SAC) Sponsored Service Activities? Students who participate in service projects sponsored by the SAC need to sign in with a SAC member at the project. These hours will be tracked centrally, but you should also keep a record for yourself.

Do Intramural Sports Count as Service? Intramural sports do not count toward the service requirement.

Can I Count Good Deeds Done on My Own Instead of Through An Agency? Please note that good deeds such as baby-sitting a child, picking up trash in the park, or reading to an elderly neighbor, while commendable, will not meet the requirement unless performed through an agency or organization.

How Many Hours Do I Get For…?

Service and work hours for the activities listed have been predetermined by the sponsoring office/organization and the Tradition for your convenience. In order for the below listed activities to count toward your requirements, they MUST be accompanied by a signed endorsement form.

Admissions Hosting Weekends/Red Carpet Society: Students hosting prospective students earn 8 hours of campus service per hosting, and 10 hours if hosting more than one student at once.

Alternative Breaks: Participants earn 60 hours of community service (based on a five day work week at eight hours per day, plus planning time). Team leaders earn 100 hours of community service.

Cornell EMS & EARS: Participation in Cornell's Emergency Medical Service (EMS) or Empathy, Assistance, and Referral Service (EARS) counts as campus, not community, service hours. Hours are awarded by the advisor based on participation.

Cornell Tradition Student Advisory Committee: Students can earn 30-100 hours for their service, depending on the SAC member's activity log. If no log is submitted, 30 campus service hours will be awarded.

Donating Blood: Students who attempt to donate, whether successful or not, can earn 3 hours of community service.

Fire Department Bunkers: Since bunkers are provided with room and board compensation, they may count their time toward the paid work requirement, not toward the service requirement.

Fraternity/Sorority/Co-ops/Program Houses: Students must be contributing to the organization in a substantial, significant way (as determined by the organization advisor) to earn campus service hours. Hours for which compensation is received (room and board, meal plan monies, direct pay) count as paid work hours. Organization-sponsored community service activities count as community service hours.

Fundraising Runs: Students who complete any kind of run to raise money for an organization or agency can earn 3 community service hours.

Hotel Ezra Cornell: Students can ONLY receive hours if they are not receiving credit for their involvement.

  • Staff Member: 20 campus service hours

  • Board Assistant: 150 campus service hours
  • Function Manager/Bartender: 75 campus service hours
  • Weekend Volunteers: 20 campus service hours
  • Board Member: 0 hours (as academic credit is given)

Orientation: The amount of campus service hours earned depends on the role a student plays. Currently, Orientation leaders can earn up to 36 hours (this is the same for January leaders). Orientation supervisors can earn up to 70 hours. Orientation Steering Committee (OSC) members can earn 300 hours annually, and OSC Chairs can earn over 400 hours annually.

Outdoor Odyssey Outdoor Service Trips: Participants & Team Leaders earn 30 community service hours (as long as service is a component of the trip). **Team Leaders may also count trip planning hours during the spring prior to the trip (to be included in prior year's application)**.

Resident Advisors: Earn 450 work hours. (Students who serve as RAs for one semester earn 225 work hours).

Training, Practices, Rehearsals: Time spent in these areas counts toward Tradition hours ONLY IF the Fellow is not receiving academic credit for the activity. Travel time does not count toward your hours.

Winter Break Service-Learning Trips: Students can earn 150 community service hours IF the trip is not associated with a course or academic credit. Team leaders earn 100 hours of community service.