WHO SERVES IN COLLEGE?: EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BACKGROUND, COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTS, AND COLLEGE COMMUNITY SERVICE PARTICIPATION
Gasiorski, Anna Louise
Jones, Susan R
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The purpose of this study was to examine demographic characteristics, background experiences and environmental influences for their ability to predict college community service participation. Additional analyses looked at college community service participation to determine in what type of service students were participating and for how long. Astin's Inputs-Environments-Outcomes (1991, 1993) conceptual model provided the framework for how the variables were entered into a logistic regression analysis. A logistic regression analysis was chosen because the outcome, college community service participation, was measured as a dichotomous variable. Data from the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership were used to answer the research questions. Results from the logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the proposed set of predictors significantly increased the odds of predicting community service participation in college from 53.1% to 73.2%. Each of the seven blocks was significant, but the blocks that improved the fit most were the college involvement experiences, high school experiences and characteristics, and pre-tests. Of all significant predictors, frequency of volunteer work in high school, low college grades, participation in a Greek organization, participation in a service organization, involvement in college organizations or off campus organizations, and socially responsible leadership capacity were the strongest predictors of college community service participation. Additional analyses described the outcome variable, college community service participation. Out of the sample of 47,230 students, 25,059 or 53.1% indicated that they regularly participated in community service. Most students were participating in community service either through a student organization or on one's own instead of through class or federal work study. Also, students were generally participating in community service for less than 20 hours each term (67.6%), and less than 1% of students were contributing more than 75 hours each term. Overall, the findings from this study support the notion that background characteristics and pre-college experiences alone do not predict college community service participation. A student's involvement while in college as well as socially responsible leadership capacity, both areas which interventions can be designed to address, greatly increase the likelihood of participation in community service.