There is a strong culture of service on the UNC Chapel Hill campus. Students on their own and student organizations all engage in an incredible array of service activities locally, across NC, across the country and even across the world. This is something we are rightly proud of about our students.
One of the challenges is capturing that activity in some form. There are isolated pockets of scholars who submit reports, class projects for grades, etc. but there is not a simple way for the average student to reflect on what they have done. I think there is a lot of value in these reflections, even if they aren’t highly personal they can still show others how easy service can be and the benefits they can get from it.
In an effort to provide a platform for this, we have launched a new blog platform at serviceblog.unc.edu. Based on WordPress multi-user we can host blogs for specific groups, or allow anyone associated with campus to post to the main blog. Since it’s multi-user, the constituent blog posts are rolled up into the main blog and available there are well. This is a recurring theme for me – it’s similar to the way the events get into the slice.unc.edu site – we pull them via an iCal feed from the constituent web sites.
Over the summer I hope to hook the serviceblog to the student org Joomla sites via RSS, letting students post their service activities in their sites and pulling that info for display and discover on the main serviceblog page. Same idea again.
I am working raising awareness of the serviceblog site and hope to see some students sharing their experiences with us soon.