A tradition of service
UGA programs serve Georgia citizens.
Serving the people of Georgia is the university’s longest tradition, established at UGA’s founding as the country’s first chartered public university. Central to UGA’s land-grant and sea-grant missions, UGA is committed to public service and outreach. By creating jobs, developing leaders and helping people across Georgia address critical issues, UGA is an economic development engine for the state.
UGA has faculty and staff working across the state to improve access to university resources, educate government and community leaders, increase literacy in young children, strengthen school systems and help small businesses, among other projects. Faculty members with UGA Extension work to help the state’s agricultural industry with soil fertility, pest control programs, plant and crop varieties, and herd health and management. As part of UGA Extension, 4-H is a nationwide network that promotes leadership, citizenship, education and healthy lifestyles to young people ages 9 to 19. In Georgia, the program reaches over 184,000 youths.
Students are volunteering through service-learning classes, student organizations and pitching in at sites across Athens and around the world.
“Our mission is to serve the people of the state of Georgia and we do that in many different ways and in all 159 counties,” said Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Jennifer Frum. “Through our work we help create jobs, develop leaders and address the state’s most critical challenges.”
The Office of Public Service and Outreach spearheads UGA’s efforts to position Georgia as a competitive force regionally, nationally and internationally. Through its eight individual units, the office partners with teaching and research resources on campus and with communities, governments and businesses to help Georgia grow and prosper.
The most recent study conducted by the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics estimated that PSO programs have a $343.5 million economic impact in the state and support 4,417 jobs. PSO programs generated $35 million in external funding, or about $2.18 for every state dollar received. In Georgia alone, more than 230,000 individuals were served.
The UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach includes:
• The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, which provides training and expertise to state and local government officials throughout the state.
• The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, which provides leadership training to nonprofit organizations, communities and youth.
• The Georgia Center for Continuing Education, which provides professional education programs for lifelong learners, certification programs for specialists across the state and programs for youth.
• The Georgia Small Business Development Center, with 17 offices across the state, which provides assistance to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
• The Archway Partnership, now in eight rural Georgia counties connecting those communities with university resources to address critical issues.
• Marine Extension and Sea Grant provide assistance and education to businesses and residents of coastal Georgia.
• The Office of Service Learning, which provides students with hands-on experiences in their academic fields.
• The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, which provides the public with opportunities for recreation, events, research and education.
In addition to the initiatives provided through the Office of the Vice President for Service and Outreach, each academic college and school as well as other units of the university—the Division of Student Affairs, which includes housing, Greek life and student organizations—have ongoing public service and outreach activities.
UGA Extension faculty and staff help Georgia’s agricultural industry with soil fertility, pest control programs, plant and crop varieties, herd health and management. The office also oversees the state’s 4-H program, a nationwide network that promotes leadership, citizenship, education and healthy lifestyles to young people. Extension agents in family and consumer science help consumers make informed family, financial and food-related decisions based on the latest research from the university to promote positive and healthy lifestyles.
Student volunteering: From July 2013 to June 2014, 12,683 UGA students volunteered nearly 230,000 hours of their time to community service activities. During that same time period, students raised more than $1.5 million for causes including children’s health care, cancer research, Goodwill, animal health and children’s education.
UGA’s 61 national Greek-letter men’s and women’s organizations had 6,459 students who volunteered 186,602 community service hours and raised $1.5 million for the community benefit in the last academic year.
“UGA students have an undying commitment to service,” said Peyton C. Fraser, president of UGA National Pan-Hellenic Council and a senior from Suwannee majoring in mathematics and mathematics education. “Along with our high scholastic expectations, it is our duty to give back to our community.”
Fraser volunteers more than an hour each week for service projects with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. The organization is involved in several projects in Athens-Clarke County, including can drives, cleanup projects and after-school programs.
Community service and philanthropy have become essential pieces of the student experience at UGA. “Every organization that I have joined has had the expectation of giving back to the community,” she said. “I have most enjoyed working with the students at Thomas Lay After School Program. I love seeing the look on the children’s faces when we play with them. It warmed my heart every time they saw us come in.”
— Sara Freeland