Recalibrating Community Service

Volunteerism should be about more than students tracking hours to beef up a college application. To make community service more equitable and accessible, Gil Villanueva, associate vice president and dean at the University of Richmond, urges advisers to consider breaking it up into five categories: 

  1. Community mindedness
  2. Civic mindedness
  3. Academic interests
  4. Personal interests
  5. Service experience

Open the Door of Opportunity

Rashaan Davis, assistant commissioner of the Colorado High School Activities Association, shared some wisdom from his 25 years in education about making student activities more equitable and inclusive: 

  • “We’re not asking anyone to change what they’re doing as much as we’re asking them to take a look at what they’re doing. If they see a way that they can open up the door of opportunity by doing one quick thing here or there, it’s a game changer.”
  • “We need to listen more to kids. That’s the beginning, the middle, and the end. If you’re a leadership adviser, the first question you have to answer is: Have you asked the kids?”
  • “If you stick with [advising], you can start to give kids opportunities where they can really thrive in school through mentoring, teaching, coaching, and advising. I think that’s awesome.”

Encourage Digital Wellness

Rebecca Grunski, a public relations intern at #ICANHELP, suggests that advisers can help students implement digital wellness in their everyday lives by: 

  • Encouraging them to set time limits on app and social media usage 
  • Reminding them to be mindful of who they follow on social media
  • Telling them to hide their phones when trying to focus on important tasks
  • Reminding them to be aware of what they say and post online
  • Encouraging them to set intentions about device usage 

Make Your Own Leadership Day

John Crawford, NHS adviser at Forest High School in Ocala, FL, transformed the State Summit program to make it work on a scale suited to his school district. He did this by: 

  • Allowing students to take the lead
  • Recognizing allies and friends
  • Inviting other district chapters
  • Identifying a realistic but compelling keynote speaker
  • Reserving spaces for the large meeting and breakout sessions

To learn more from Crawford, attend his Zoom meetings via links on the Adviser Online Community (