The Altruism Project initially was conceived as a research project to examine the topic of altruism in society within the Social Psychology module. But in response to feedback from students it evolved into a more interactive community based learning project. The project is one of the assessment strategies embedded within the Social Psychology module of our Applied Psychology degree course.
The project starts in September and runs until April. Students are required to complete at least 25 hours in an community organization. The students find the organizations that best match their interests and future career aspirations. The type of projects have moved from hands on (direct) to recently more indirect projects like fundraising (concerts) to designing websites for non–profit organizations.
When evaluating the outcomes of the project, the students have reported many interpersonal and intrapersonal benefits which they detail in their reflective journals for their portfolios.
The project has been evaluated through an online questionnaire and through the qualitative feedback from the students for the past 3 years.
The data collected from the evaluations have been analysed and presented at the Campus Engage Conference in Croke Park in 2009 and at the First World Congress of Positive Psychology in Philadelphia in 2009.