Ashford University is fortunate to be the first online chapter recognized through the Society of Professional Journalists, largely due to the hard work of Dr. Lisa Rollins, who laid the foundation and framework for this unique chapter.
Part of the requirements to maintain our sponsorship is to conduct service projects. Service projects are a way for the SPJ and individual chapters to get involved within the community. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 25 percent of the nation had done volunteer work from 2013-2014, and about 15-43 percent were college students, percentage varies by state. Service projects create student growth; teach compassion, and, more importantly, they can enhance community relations. As a journalist, building trust is essential; it is both the job of a journalist and an ethical commitment. The 2013 Gallup Poll showed a public’s lack of confidence in journalists. Building relationships with the community can help boost confidence; it creates a relationship and builds a foundation of trust. Service projects can help build these relationships.
One of our focuses for this year’s service project is implementing a scholarship in honor of the dedication and hard work that Dr. Rollins contributed not only to SPJ but also to the Ashford community. This also pays homage to her legacy. The scholarship will be open to high school students who are aspiring to be journalists.
As our chapter grows we hope to implement many more service projects, and since Ashford is an online chapter our community is vast. These projects can help build relationships with people across the nation and help restore that lack of confidence with the public. These projects also create student growth and build self-esteem.
Through this blog series, we will cover ideas, and maintain updated information on current service projects, as well as announce upcoming projects. This also allows us to document the differences we make in our communities because that is what service projects are all about, making a difference.
If you have any ideas for service projects, submit them at SPJ@ashford.edu or post a comment on this blog.