Campus News Georgia Impact

Casting a (state)wide net

Charlie Phillips clam boat-h
UGA faculty and staff work across the state to improve access to university resources

UGA’s public service and outreach programs serve citizens throughout Georgia

Serving the people of Georgia is UGA’s longest tradition, established at the university’s founding as the country’s first state-chartered university.

Central to UGA’s land-grant and sea-grant missions, UGA is committed to public service and outreach. By creating jobs, developing leaders and helping people across Georgia address critical issues, UGA is an economic development engine for the state.

Access to UGA resources
UGA has faculty and staff working across the state to improve access to university resources, educate government and community leaders, increase literacy in young children, strengthen school systems and help small businesses, among other projects.

Faculty members with UGA Extension work to help the state’s agricultural industry. As part of UGA Extension, 4-H is a nationwide network that promotes leadership, citizenship, education and healthy lifestyles to young people ages 9 to 19. In Georgia, the program reaches more than 184,000 youths.

Students are volunteering through service-learning classes, student organizations and pitching in at sites across Athens and the nation.

“Our mission is to serve the people of the state of Georgia and we do that in many different ways and in all 159 counties,” said Jennifer Frum, vice president for public service and outreach. “Through our work we help create jobs, develop leaders and address the state’s most critical challenges.”

Grow and prosper
The Office of Public Service and Outreach spearheads UGA’s efforts to position Georgia as a competitive force regionally, nationally and internationally. Through its eight units, PSO partners with teaching and research resources on campus and with ­communities, governments and businesses to help Georgia grow and prosper. The most recent study conducted by UGA’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics estimated that PSO programs have a $343.5 million economic impact in the state and support 4,417 jobs. PSO programs generated $35 million in external funding, or about $2.18 for every state dollar received. In Georgia alone, more than 230,000 individuals were served.

The UGA Office of Public Service and Outreach includes:
• the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, which provides training and expertise to state and local government officials throughout Georgia.
• the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, which provides leadership training to nonprofit organizations, communities and youth.
• the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, which provides professional education programs for lifelong learners, certification programs for specialists across the state and programs for youth.
• the Georgia Small Business Development Center, with 17 offices across the state, which provides assistance to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
• the Archway Partnership, now in eight rural Georgia counties, which connects those communities with university ­resources to address critical issues.
• the Marine Extension and Sea Grant provide assistance and education to businesses and residents of coastal Georgia.
• the Office of Service-Learning, which provides students with hands-on experiences in their academic fields.
• the State Botanical Garden, which provides the public with opportunities for recreation, events, research and education.

Academic initiatives
In addition to the initiatives provided through the Office of the Vice President for Service and Outreach, each academic college and school as well as other units of the university-the Division of Student Affairs, which includes housing, Greek life and student organizations-have ongoing public service and outreach activities.

UGA Extension faculty and staff help Georgia’s agricultural industry with soil fertility, pest control programs, plant and crop varieties, herd health and management.

Extension agents in family and consumer science help consumers make informed family, financial and food-related decisions based on the latest research from the university to promote positive and healthy lifestyles.

Student volunteers
From July 2013 to June 2014, 12,683 UGA students volunteered nearly 230,000 hours of their time to community service activities. During that same time period, students raised more than $1.5 million for causes including children’s health care, cancer research, animal health and children’s education.

UGA’s 61 national Greek-letter men’s and women’s organizations had 6,459 students who volunteered 186,602 community service hours and raised $1.5 million for the community benefit in the last academic year.

Commitment to service
“UGA students have an undying commitment to service,” said Peyton C. Fraser, president of UGA National Pan-Hellenic Council and a senior from Suwannee majoring in mathematics and mathematics education. “Along with our high scholastic expectations, it is our duty to give back to our community.”

Community service and philanthropy have become essential pieces of the student experience at UGA.

“Every organization I have joined has had the expectation of giving back to the community,” Fraser said.

“I have most enjoyed working with the students at Thomas Lay After School Program. I love seeing the children’s faces when we play with them. It warmed my heart every time they saw us come in.”

For more information about the university’s outreach and service efforts, see