In 2004, the launch of a new social networking website thefacebook.com began as a small-scale, dorm room project, an innovation that changed the way hundreds of millions of people connect and communicate with each other. SpaceShipOne, the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach outer space, subsequently won the Ansari Prize for its multiple launches that year. Near the end of 2004, George W. Bush defeated John Kerry to earn a second term as president, and the world’s tallest building Taipei 101 opened—a distinction it would hold for six years. It was certainly a year of new heights and beginnings.
The European Union experienced significant expansion when it welcomed 10 new member states, creating greater partnerships and cooperation across the continent. One of the EU countries, Greece, held the world’s attention for a few weeks during the summer when it hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics—returning the games to the place where the modern games began in 1896. Sadly, in December, one of the worst natural disasters in history took place after one of the largest recorded earthquakes shook the Indian Ocean, resulting in a tsunami that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
At the Higher Education Research Institute, Sylvia Hurtado was named as the Institute’s new director in April 2004, succeeding Sandy Astin. Sandy had served as HERI’s founding director for more than 30 years, though he continues to participate as a senior scholar.
That year, the 2004 Freshman Survey included a bank of questions relating to students’ community service activities and interests. Three out of ten (30.3%) students attended a school that required community service to graduate. However, geographic differences reveal that students from the east (37.2%) and west (30.5%) were more likely to attend high schools with a community service requirement, compared to students in the south (25.8%) and Midwest (24.4%). There were also important differences based upon the type of high school students attended. Nearly 70% of students who attended private, religious schools indicated their high school had a community service requirement, compared to 38.6% at charter schools and 21.9% of students at public high schools (non-magnet).
Although previous surveys did ask students whether community service was required to graduate from high school, the 2004 instrument provided students an opportunity to describe the type of service activities they had participated in. While more than 9-in-10 students indicated they had completed community service in high school, nearly one-in-five (18.2%) of all students reported they had served in a counseling/mentoring role, 32.9% indicated they had performed childcare, and more than one-in-ten (10.8%) had volunteered in a hospital.
In 2004, volunteering was quite popular among high school and college students. In fact, according to a 2012 article in USA Today, the Corporation for National and Community Service reported 2004 was the year when the largest percentage of college students participated in community service, followed by a slight, steady decline through 2010. According to the 2004 TFS, a large majority not only had participated in community service in high school, but they also were planning to do so once they reached college. More than 65% thought there was at least some chance they’d participate in community service, with 24.1% of all students saying there was a very good chance they would do so.
Did you know?
50.7% spent less than one hour per week reading for pleasure
42.8% were frequently bored in class during their last year in high school
23.5% frequently played a musical instrument in their senior year of high school
6.4% had participated in a summer research program
27.8% of students watched TV for six hours a week or more