This naturalistic study examined differences in students motivations for elective versus required service-learning (SL) classes. Students in two successive academic years' cohorts were surveyed by the SL center at a large Midwestern university. Analyses compared classes differing in requirements for community-based service. Students required to participate in community service as part of a class within a program required for admission to a university were less likely to: want to be involved in future community work; enroll in another SL class; and recommend their class, compared to other groups of students, including others from classes in which SL was required as part of the program in which students were enrolled. These findings suggest that students' motivations to participate in community-engaged activities are not shaped simply by whether or not community engagement is required in SL classes, but also by other factors including how the engagement opportunity is contextualized.
- prosocial behavior