There are many debates concerning advantages and disadvantages of mandating community service, however, the practice of compelling adolescents to take part in community service is increasingly common. People seek to understand the relationships between mandatory community service and volunteering. A key distinction between mandated community service and volunteering is the freely-chosen nature of the latter activity compared to the compulsory nature of the former (Arai et al.).
Even though college students may not comprehend the value of community service now, this is a great opportunity for them to achieve something in the future. What harm can several hours of service per week possibly do to youngsters? Instead of attending pubs, drinking alcohol and doing whatever they like to do, they will be busy with contributing to the society. The statistics shows that students who participated in community service while studying at college are more likely to find a good job because they have something to put in their resumes. Such people are welcome in every circle.
Current statistics from the Department of Labor report that in the United States among the 26, 8% of the adult population who volunteer, college students are the majority of them (76, 3%). That shows that individuals with higher levels of educational attainment are more aware of the importance of contributing to the community, more aware of the impact the may have and the responsibility they carry as citizens to improve lives and solve problems. By implementing a mandatory service program for all college students, the number of active students should be increased, and that should be the start.
The reason why that should be initiated at college is that college is where there already a wide culture of volunteering, where individuals are more responsive to the need of getting involved.
College students carry fundamental information that should help in crafting solutions to existing social problems. At the beginning, the service will, of course, be mandatory, but later most of the students may like it, may like to pay tribute to their society and be responsible for something useful and good that they have done.
The study of Ontario university students compared a cohort of students required to perform mandatory community service to a cohort that did not, in terms of their attitudes toward volunteering and civic engagement a few months after high school graduation (Henderson). Metz and Youniss note in particular the benefits of mandated community service for students who are less inclined to serve–defined in this case as students who had no volunteer experience prior to beginning their mandated service, and who delayed beginning their service until their final year before graduation. In their study, these less-inclined students, once compelled to become involved in community service, experienced firsthand the benefits of doing so, and were likely to stay involved and report intentions to continue civic involvement into adulthood. While more-inclined adolescents similarly reported intentions to continue their involvement, they were likely to do so regardless of whether they had been required to perform community service (Arai et al.). Among the group less inclined to service, students required to perform mandatory service showed a greater likelihood of civic interest and understanding, future voting, and conventional civic involvement after their experience (Lerner, Zaff).
Mandated community service experiences are not significantly different from those entered into willingly. Length and breadth of service is similar, and with the exception that high school students who were not mandated to perform community service tend to use their schools to identify volunteering opportunities, and as places to perform service, the two cohorts are indistinguishable (Brown et al.).
Some may not agree that service should be made mandatory to all students at college because partner sites could lose with the program instead of benefiting. The argument is that sites will not have a long- term commitment from the students participating in the program and that might hurt their projects. However, the students might be so deeply involved with their projects that they may choose to carry on with their work and continue to help. Their enthusiasm may influence others in their lives, such as their family members, in such a way they become supports as well.
Another strong argument against mandatory service program is that in 2002, Covitt found that girls had more positive attitudes about required service than boys, and that white students had more positive attitudes than black students (Lerner, Zaff). Of course, it is impossible for all nations and genders to have the same attitude and the same point of view. But that is the actual purpose of community service: to unite everyone for solving common social problems and achieving desired goals.
Nowadays civic engagement is deteriorating, people become members of different associations less and less, they are not interested in social activities and do not care about obvious problems. They turn a blind eye on everything that is farther from their reach.
There are three possible ways for mandated behavior programs to attain their goals: they compel, directly, the very behaviors that are seen to be essential; they create behavioral habits so that individuals might then begin to participate in other similar activities; and/or the act of participating instills in individuals the attitudes that then serve as motors for other behaviors deemed to be beneficial (Brown et al.). Among programs aimed at students, effects are clearest when service is “regular and sustained”, when there are broad opportunities for public action, or when the service provides students with an opportunity to experience power. Factors such as the amount of enjoyment, support, respect, and appreciation students encounter in their placements are very important in promoting a commitment to subsequent volunteering (Brown et al.).
Mandatory community service is, of course, one example of mandated civic behavior deemed to benefit both individual participants and society as a whole. In order for college students not to be hostile towards the program, they need to get some benefits from participating. And this way they will not feel forced to do anything. Their contributions will become more voluntary and, therefore, they will become better people than they were before.
In conclusion, it has to be said that the number of reasons pro establishing mandatory service program is overwhelming and fears about consequences are not reasonable enough to fight against it. Students will be busy with something useful for their lives and will not notice how they begin to enjoy it. Both, the young people and the society will benefit from it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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