Half of service challenge hours complete

The GW community is more than halfway to the finish line for the Michelle Obama Service Challenge, but a few of the hours logged have been disqualified from the count, a University spokeswoman said Wednesday.

A total of 507 hours, or about 1 percent of the 56,748 hours logged, did not fit the Obama Service Challenge guidelines, University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said.

“The University will continue to review hours reported and it should be noted that those who reported hours incorrectly, we believe, simply misunderstood the guidelines and hours will be adjusted accordingly,” Sherrard said in an e-mail.

Sherrard said GW has audited half of the hours GW community members have logged thus far on VolunteerMatch – a Web site designed to track community service hours.

“The University will continue to educate students on the importance of accurate reporting, logging, and the value of service,” Sherrard said.

Sherrard said that because the University believes the misreported hours were not logged with bad intent, no retribution will take place.

Although Sherrard said that a small percent of the hours logged were disqualified from the challenge, she said the vast majority of the hours were verifiable.

“These numbers demonstrate that the VolunteerMatch system is working, and that for the most part, the GW community understands what types of activities count towards meeting the challenge goal,” Sherrard said.

Nearly 9,500 hours were logged last month through student participation in the Alternative Break Programs as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

The GW community must reach Obama’s 100,000 hour goal before May 16 in order to secure the first lady as Commencement speaker.

Emily Cahn contributed to this report.

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