Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sociology and Criminology

Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Alison C. Cares


Volunteerism has been on the rise on college campuses for the past few decades. In response to this growing interest, opportunities to volunteer through local service, mission trips, and service learning classes have expanded. Researchers of this fairly new phenomenon have focused on the short and long term benefits of undergraduate volunteerism and why students volunteer. Research has also been conducted on high school volunteerism and its benefits. This study adds to the knowledge of volunteerism across the life span, focusing particularly on adolescence and young adulthood. This thesis attempts to fill in the gaps of previous research by looking at the connection between high school and college volunteerism, what makes undergraduate volunteerism meaningful, and which factors contribute to the continuation of volunteerism into college, during college, and beyond. To conduct this research, I surveyed undergraduate volunteers at one small private college in New England. Preliminary findings reveal the connections between motivations in high school and college to volunteer, factors that contribute to meaningful volunteer experiences for students, and students’ intentions to continue volunteering in college and into post-graduate life.