Spring 2007 Survey: Voluntarism and Helping
General Purpose | Major Findings | Interview Schedule

General Introduction
Fall 2001
Spring 2002
Fall 2002

Spring 2003

Fall 2003
Spring 2004
Fall 2004 / Spring 2005
Spring 2007
Spring 2008
Spring 2009

General Purpose, Questions, and Sample

Volunteering is an important and timely topic for colleges and universities and for Holy Cross in particular.  Over the past two decades, the rate of volunteering nationally has increased among high school and college students; there also has been substantial growth in service-learning programs in higher education.  The Holy Cross Mission Statement asks students to consider their “special responsibility to the world’s poor and powerless” and calls upon them “to serve others.”  The spring 2002 and spring 2003 HCSS indicated that a majority of Holy Cross students are involved actively in service groups on campus.  The primary aim of the 2007 HCSS was to document more precisely the extent of students’ involvement in volunteer work and other helping activities.
The survey asked students about the following:

  1. Volunteer experience in high school.
  2. Volunteer activities at Holy Cross.
  3. Whether their parents volunteered, gave money to charities, and donated blood.
  4. History of donating blood.
  5. Frequency of engaging in various forms of formal and informal helping at Holy Cross.
  6. Involvement in extracurricular activities aside from volunteering.
  7. Time devoted to volunteering, extracurricular activities, employment, and academic work.
  8. Empathy.
  9. Post-graduate plans, including volunteer service.

Two national surveys were sources of questions.  General questions on volunteering were adapted from the Volunteer Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted each September since 2002.  Several questions on the frequency of informal and formal helping behaviors were drawn from the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) Module on Altruism.  The measure of empathy, also included in the 2002 GSS, consisted of the 7-item Davis Empathy Scale (Davis, 1994).

The survey took place between March 14 and April 16.  The target population and sampling frame included only students enrolled and on campus, thereby excluding those who were studying away or abroad or who had taken a leave of absence.  This amounted to 2,528 students, from whom we randomly selected a sample of 380.  A total of 312 interviews were completed, yielding a response rate of 82 percent.

Of the 312 respondents, 57.7 percent were female, 84.0 percent were white, 98.7 percent ranged in age from 18 to 22 years old, and 78.8 percent identified themselves as Catholic.  Ninety-two percent of the respondents lived on campus.  By academic class, 31.1 percent were first-year students, 27.2 percent second-year, 18.9 percent third-year, and 22.1 percent fourth-year.

return to top