(ST.JOSEPH, Mo.) Missouri Western State University will soon give students the chance to earn college credit by doing community service.
"We are going to do something that is unique that I'm unaware of any other university doing," said MWSU President Dr. Matt Wilson.
It's part of the university's new Center for Service initiative.
"St. Joseph was really attractive to us because of the people. Community is really special and unique," Wilson said. "We're so excited to see people step up and embrace our students as they get out in the community."
Through this community service program, students will earn one elective credit toward their degree for every 40 hours of community service, up to a maximum of three credits. Those credits would be free of charge to the students, in full or part, by sponsors of the center.
"Imagine about 1,000 of our students out in St. Joseph. If they do all three credit hours, that's 120,000 hours of service to our community," Wilson said.
Wilson added that having this community opportunity can also help them with real world skills for their future careers.
"Truly they'll help elevate the human heart. That's what we are here to do. To be able to inspire and truly make a difference," he said.
For many local organizations, such as the United Way of Greater St. Joseph, this just won't help boost community involvement but also help make the students feel they are right at home.
"We love the idea of things that encourage people to go out and serve the community. That is what keeps us going," said Renita Neville of the United Way. "Over time it will contribute to that feeling people get of being part of something bigger than themselves."
Even though the project is still in the planning process, the future is looking more bright for both the city of St. Joseph but also for Missouri Western.
"It really is a pivotal point to come together and make sure we are doing what we need to elevate our society," Wilson said.
Missouri Western State University plans to get the new Center for Service up and running at a limited capacity for the spring 2020 semester, but hopes to run at full capacity in time for the fall 2020 semester.
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