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Center for Leadership and Service ( Charity Profile
The CLS has a rich community service history at the University of Florida, which has evolved dramatically since the creation of the volunteer student organization, Gators Involved in Volunteer Endeavors (GIVE), in 1992. GIVE's mission, to increase volunteerism at UF through group community service projects, resulted in a steady increase of service projects and student participants. An analysis of GIVE's activities in 1997-1998 revealed the program's effectiveness in stimulating group service projects. It was determined that GIVE had been less effective at providing a volunteer clearinghouse for UF, and that this service was sorely needed.
Accordingly, the Office of Student Activities established the TreeHouse in 1998 to serve as the campus clearinghouse for volunteerism. An assistant director of student activities was assigned to oversee the TreeHouse and its staff of student volunteers. Its mission was to foster an atmosphere of giving and community on the UF campus through involving volunteers in civic leadership. In 2000, TreeHouse was renamed the Office of Community Service, to reflect more accurately its function as the volunteer service center on campus. Some of the major responsibilities of the office included volunteer development, community relations and outreach, service learning, and providing opportunities for community involvement. Long-range goals, objectives, and implementation steps were drafted at this time to guide the development of the OCS.
In 2005, the Office of Community Service was bound for further change. The physical office location was moved from the OSA to the Dean of Students Office as part of the new Center for Leadership and Service. The organizational change stemmed from the recognition of the need for an office that brings the related components of service learning, student volunteerism, and leadership development into a coherent, inclusive experience for students. In 2009, the CLS became its own department under the Division of Student Affairs and was no longer a part of the Dean of Student office. The CLS is working towards expanding the department as they are now on the 3rd floor of Peabody where new and exciting changes are in the processing to occur.