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Biology Major Community Engagement Requirement

Biology majors (starting with students who matriculated in the summer or Fall of 2015) are required to complete 30 hours of biology related service to their community before graduation. Twenty of the thirty hours must be completed before the start of their senior year. The number of required hours for transfer students is prorated based on the number of credits transferred. For example, a transfer student entering W&J as a Junior would need to complete 15 hours.

Rationale:---Because at W&J, “we give back” and so do most biological organizations and businesses.

Outreach and/or service are part of the mission of most professional biological organizations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly important for private businesses. This requirement will help students understand the importance of using their knowledge and skills in biology to help their community. It will also provide an opportunity for students to learn about their community and to learn from community leaders.


There are many worthwhile and important service activities. However, only activities that 1) relate to biology and 2) engage or serve the community will count to satisfy this requirement. Students must obtain approval for the activity before completing the activity. However some group activities such as community engagement projects integrated into a Biology course or sponsored by the Office of Community Engagement can obtain approval for the entire group. Always confirm the eligibility of any activity with the Biology Civic Engagement Faculty Coordinator ahead of time.

Before the activity: complete the Biology Community Engagement Activity Approval Form. You can obtain this form here or by emailing Dr. March (

You must receive approval from the faculty coordinator ahead of time to be sure that the activity will count.

After the activity: complete the Biology Community Engagement Activity Reflection Form, which you can find here or which you also can obtain from Dr. March.

The following is a list of sample activities. However, it is up to the students to articulate how the proposed activity relates to biology and engages or serves the community in their Activity Approval Form.

Outreach projects on a biology related topic for local k-12 students.

Tutoring local k-12 students in a biology-related topic.

Volunteering at hospital, retirement home, hospice, community watershed group, humane society, animal shelter, Red Cross, Central Blood Bank, Highland Ridge Community Garden.

Cleaning or studying local rivers (e.g., paddle without pollution, biomonitoring)

Presidents without Borders (health related mission trips)

Working with county parks on education programs

Helping civic groups create educational outreach materials on local biological issues.

Below are local organizations that already have a relationship with W&J’s Office of Community Engagement. Starred agencies have a W&J student Community Outreach Team Leader, who will be coordinating W&J student specific opportunities throughout the year. Please contact W&J’s Community Engagement office for more information.

  • Anova Health Care System
  • Center for Coalfield Justice
  • Central Blood Bank
  • *City Mission (Clinic)
  • *Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA
  • Gateway Hospice
  • *Greater Washington County Food Bank
  • *Highland Ridge Community Development Corp. (Community Garden, planters, cleanups)
  • Presbyterian Senior Care
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services Inc.
  • *Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living
  • Washington Area Humane Society
  • *Washington County Watershed Alliance
  • *Washington Health System

For more information please contact:

James March

Biology Community Engagement Faculty Coordinator for Academic Year 2017-18.

Office: 724 223-6119

Office: DP 111

Document last edited January 5th, 2018

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