Darin Mather


This article uses qualitative data gathered from a case study of a service program at an evangelical Christian university to examine the links between volunteering and the development of social capital and civic engagement in college students. The students were asked to describe their service experiences and to discuss the ways in which these experiences affected their connections with others and the influence that these experiences had on their perspectives on social action. Data gathered from these interviews provided new insights into the ways that volunteering promotes social capital formation in students and changes their perspectives on civic engagement. The data also revealed ways that the religious tradition of students shaped their ideas about forming relationships and social action. The results show that bridging social capital formation is far and away the most salient aspect of the volunteer experience for these students. The guiding social engagement framework for these evangelical students is relationships, which, for them, took precedence over meeting practical needs and working for structural change.
Keywords:  social capital, civic engagement, social action, evangelicals, bridging capital,    Christian college students


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