Learning happens everywhere, not just inside a classroom. Students enrolled in VCU ASPiRE are provided with many opportunities to experience learning in nontraditional ways. Through community engagement, programs, workshops, and leadership opportunities, VCU ASPiRE students have an opportunity to integrate classroom and experiential learning in a seamless environment that will contribute to personal and professional growth.
Many co-curricular experiences will be available each month, and students have the option to attend programs of interest to them. Many experiences are planned by ASPiRE staff, but students are also encouraged to suggest events for the co-curricular calendar, based on their passions and involvement.
The Co-Curricular experience is offered within four categories, and over the course of two years, VCU ASPiRE students must complete a total of 100 hours of co-curricular experiences. Students should plan to complete 25 hours per semester in order to stay on track and meet program expectations.
At least half of the hours must be completed in the ENGAGE area. Remaining hours can be completed in any combination from all four categories, however students must meet at least the minimum number of hours from each of the remaining categories, as follows:
- ENGAGE (minimum 50 hours) Encompasses opportunities where students are able to ENGAGE with VCU ASPiRE’s sustained community partners or other partners to provide community outreach. These opportunities involve interaction with the local community in collaborative efforts that are of benefit to both students and community. Additional opportunities for ENGAGE hours include alternative break trips, summer service trips, projects, and special events that support community partners.
- LEARN (minimum 10 hours) Learning opportunities include the exploration of knowledge, information, and resources. These opportunities can occur within the living-learning community, the campus community, or the local community. Examples of LEARN experiences include lectures, workshops, and peer-led topic discussions. VCU ASPiRE students are encouraged to take the initiative to develop opportunities for learning & development through the sharing of relevant campus and community events as well as service-related interest and passions with their peers in the community.
- LEAD (minimum 10 hours) Encompass opportunities where the community - either residential or academic - are being supported through active participation on the part of the student that furthers the mission of VCU ASPiRE. This can include serving on committees and boards within the program, such as the Student Advisory Council, or Community Council, as well as related VCU student organizations or partner nonprofit organizations. It can also include participating in recruitment for VCU ASPiRE and mentoring of incoming ASPiRE students.
- LIVE (minimum 10 hours) Includes opportunities that occur within the residence hall or on campus and enhance the community living experience. This can include RA programs, Hall Council events, and some social opportunities hosted by the program or hall staff. These opportunities promote interpersonal connection and interaction amongst ASPiRE students and with the entire West Grace South community.
*Completion of minimum hours in each category does not equal the required 100 hours of co-curricular involvement. Students must meet the set minimum in all four categories (total of 80 hours) and finish remaining balance of 20 hours (to be completed in any category or combination of categories chosen by student) to reach the 100 hour certificate requirement.
Guidelines for Co-Curricular Hours
- Students must follow set guidelines for signing-in/documenting co-curricular hours. This process may vary due to the differing nature of individual events. Students should make sure they are aware of what procedure is in place for any event in which they are seeking co-curricular credit.
- Service completed for academic credit, paid position or mandated by outside entity (i.e., court system) cannot count toward completed co-curricular hours.
- Hours completed in service-learning seminars do not count toward co-curricular requirements.
- Service trips such as Alternative Spring Break will have a maximum hour cap. The amount of hours credited will be determined by the assistant director for VCU ASPiRE and may vary depending on the length and details of each individual trip.
- Repeated unexcused absences from co-curricular experiences to which the student has committed will result in the student's status in the program coming under review. Commitment to an event in advance means attendance at the event is expected unless there is an emergency.
- In the event a student withdraws from a co-curricular experience that has an associated fee, that student may be held responsible for full reimbursement of the cost of that opportunity.
Community Engagement Certificate of Completion
Along with the requisite coursework, the Community Engagement Certificate of Completion requires a minimum of 100 hours of co-curriculum across the two-year program. Students work with the program staff to document the completion of co-curricular experiences.
For more information on the co-curricular experience, contact Nerice Lochansky at firstname.lastname@example.org.