Frequently asked questions about ESA collegiate membership

Founded in 1929, ESA is a powerful network of people, who as individuals or members of ESA’s nearly 800 local chapters throughout the U.S. and Australia donate nearly 850,000 volunteer hours and raise more than $10 million annually in cash and pledges for worthy causes. Collegiate members are a dynamic and important part of the ESA family.

Who can join ESA as a collegiate member?
Any student at least 18 years of age currently enrolled in a college or university may join ESA as a collegiate member. Non-students may join ESA as a community member.

Do I have to attend a university or college in the U.S.?
Students of colleges and universities throughout the world are welcome to join ESA as collegiate members.

How many hours must I commit?
There is really no average number of hours an individual must commit. Each person decides how much time and/or resources they can give. Collegiate ESA members may choose individual or chapter membership. Most collegiate ESA chapters meet weekly or bi-weekly, and each chapter determines its membership participation guidelines, meeting times and dates, as well as the scope and schedule of student volunteer activities of interest to them. Individual members participate to the level that works best for their own schedule and goals.

What recognition do ESA members receive?
ESA recognizes achievements of members as individuals and chapter groups. Awards for excellence in educational development, charitable fundraising, hands-on volunteerism, scholarship, and ESA promotion are available. Many members have received civic honors, employment credit, and letters of recommendation for their ESA training and accomplishments. Members who complete ESA’s Pallas Athene program at the highest level receive official designation as Certified Volunteers of America.

How can I develop my leadership skills and resume through ESA? 
By participating in ESA projects, you will gain formal and informal hands-on leadership experience. Assume an officer role or chair a committee in a chapter setting; or lead family, friends, and fellow citizens in a project to support a cause in your community. You’ll gain valuable and marketable experience in communications, public relations, human resources, public speaking, budgeting and financial management, and more.

Who does ESA help?
ESA’s largest national project is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Since ESA began supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1972, members have raised more than $250 million in cash and pledges for the hospital. In addition, ESA members often work together to support state-level and local projects. Individual chapters and members support a rich variety of causes such as animal shelters, food pantries, international poverty and disaster relief, military spouses and families, and the elderly. The opportunity to choose your own causes is one of the best aspects of ESA membership.

Does ESA have scholarships?
The ESA Foundation provides scholarships and grants for members and non-members alike.

Does ESA have conferences and conventions?
ESA has an annual convention in July hosted by the ESA International Council, and there are five regional council events annually. ESA’s national leadership conference is held each February in Denver, CO, and is open to all members. Conferences tailored specifically to collegiate ESA members are co-hosted by collegiate chapters and ESA Headquarters, and are a special favorite of student members.

How much does it cost to join?
Annual dues and fees for first-year members are $79; every year thereafter, annual dues are $59 ($55 for members ages 65 and over).

What is included in ESA membership fees?
First-year members receive their ESA lamp pin and jewel pin, ESA-printed training materials, a subscription to ESA’s semi-annual Journey magazine, access to the members-only section of the website including networking circles and project resources, use of the ESA name and credentials for your resume, and the opportunity to enroll in ESA awards and recognition programs.

What happens to my membership when I graduate?
ESA membership can last a lifetime. After you graduate, you may continue your membership as an ESA community member, either as an individual community member or a community chapter member. The ESA network is far reaching, and if relocation is part of your post-graduate plans, ESA can help you connect with ESA in your new home.

Who can I contact if I still have questions?
Send an e-mail to or call 970.223.2824 ext.104.
Change lives – including your own.
Join an existing chapter, become an individual member, or start a chapter on your campus today.