The University's mission statement reads, "The University is committed to the development of each student to become a productive and responsible citizen." For many students, this citizenship means donating their time to others through community service activities.
Seventy percent of all students at UT participate in community service activities prior to their graduation. Each year, approximately 100,000 hours are volunteered by students, faculty and staff at more than 200 local organizations. The PEACE (People Exploring Active Community Experiences) Volunteer Center records these hours for students. Students may also record their activities on a co-curricular transcript, which can be sent to prospective employers and graduate schools in addition to academic transcripts and credentials.
While the student-run PEACE Volunteer Center coordinates most service activities (e.g., service projects, alternative break trips, advocacy events, Into the Streets Orientation Service Project, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, etc.), many of UT's 160 student organizations sponsor service projects as well.
Many UT fraternities and sororities sponsor philanthropic activities to raise awareness and money for different causes. Examples include:
- Adopt-A-School Program
- Children's Miracle Network
- Domestic Violence Awareness
- Ronald McDonald House
- "Paint the Town"
- Prevent Child Abuse America
- PUSH America Challenge
- Relay for Life
- Service for Sight
- Children's Cancer Center
- Shriners Hospital
- Sound Beginnings Program
- Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
- Big Brother Big Sister
There are many student organizations whose primary mission is to help others. These include Circle K International (serves children of the world), PEACE Volunteer Center and Relay for Life (supports the American Cancer Society).
Five different student organizations focus on sustainability and environmental issues, including Beta Beta Beta, the Environmental Protection Coalition, PEACE Volunteer Center, Student Environmental Action Coalition and the Tampa Bay Association of Environmental Professionals.
Athletes from every team contribute approximately 2,000 community service hours and raise $10,000 each year for charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Give Kids the World and holiday gift activities.
Students are selected to join the prestigious Diplomat organization, a volunteer group specially trained to serve as ambassadors for the University. They represent the student body at various campus events, commencement, Family Weekend, new student orientation, etc.
The Spartan Mentors Program sends students to elementary schools, middle schools and area non-profit organizations to tutor math, science and reading.
A significant number of UT students join the U.S. Peace Corps. UT graduates have served in the East Caribbean, Kyrgyz Republic, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Belize and China.
UT's mission and tradition of community service does not go unrecognized. Recent awards include a Seniors in Service Award, a Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful Award and Florida Campus Compact's Graham-Frey Civic Award. For three years in a row, UT was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for distinguished community service, one of the highest recognitions a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.