Oregon State University

Community Entry

Considerations and Tips for Entering a Community Site

  • Be mindful that you are a guest when at a community site. Show respect for the agency you are serving.
  • Remember that you are a representative of OSU, yourself, and any organization you are affiliated with. Reflect on the questions below before your community project.
    • How do you want the community to remember you?
    • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • Be open to new experiences and ideas.
  • Expect to learn something new and work hard.
  • Be appropriate in manner, dress, and language. Ask the community agency what attire/dress is appropriate ahead of time. Be mindful that your clothing is appropriate for the type of work you will be completing.
  • Ask if there is any training or orientation needed ahead of time.
  • Seek to DO WITH rather than to DO FOR the commun ity organization.
  • Respect the privacy of any community agency clients.
  • Listen attentively to the directions provided by the community representatives/staff. Ask for help when in doubt.
  • Reflect upon elements of your identity and how you will show up in the community site.
  • Consider any cultural differences between you/your group and the organizations and population you will be working with and how that could impact your project. Reflect upon what you can do to promote a mutually beneficial experience for all.
  • Commit to suspending one's assumptions. It is important to resist making quick judgments and overgeneralizations. Keep focus on the fact that one's lens is one's lens and everyone has unique lived experiences.
  • Understand that relationship building is key to almost everything related to one's service experience. Share oneself in ways that earn and garner trust and respect.
  • Most community organizations are understaffed, show appreciation for the time spent working with you/your group!
  • Refrain from the use of cell phones, phone calls, and texting while at the community site unless it's connected to the project at hand.
  • Community partners typically appreciate working with volunteers who show:
    • Flexibility (project details often change last minute)
    • Humility
    • Strong communication and listening skills
    • Interest in building relationships
    • Professionalism/respect
    • Interest in the issue area and the organization

Questions to ask and information to seek out from your community placement

  • What services does the organization provides to the community? What is the mission and scope of impact of this organization on our local and regional community?
  • Why are the services provided important? What would happen if this organization lost funding and/or volunteer support?
  • What are the opportunities for volunteers and ongoing engagement with this organization?
  • Are there opportunities for philanthropy/giving, advocacy, policy work, internships, and other forms of civic engagement with the organization?

Contact Info

Center for Civic Engagement
158 Snell Hall (MU East) Corvallis, OR 97331-1610 beaver.volunteer@oregonstate.edu
Copyright ©  2014 Oregon State University