American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Distinguished Students of Service

Distinguished Students of Service (DSS) is a national-level program sponsored by NSSLHA. The DSS is designed to give students guidance, goals, and recognition for taking the initiative to independently develop personal leadership skills in the area of service. DSS defines service as "actively participating and volunteering in all of the following three areas: local NSSLHA chapters, state associations, and National NSSLHA." Communication sciences and disorders (CSD) students work toward achieving a particular number of annual service hours by actively participating in and volunteering for the discipline.

The DSS timeline for counting hours served will be between September 1 and August 31 of each academic year. 

Requirements for the DSS

Participants in the DSS can include undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students who are enrolled full or part-time in a CSD program or related major. They also must be a current member of National NSSLHA, a member of a local NSSLHA chapter that is active or in gold standing with National NSSLHA, and must hold some type of membership with the state association. International students should contact nsslha@asha.org if they are interested in the DSS. In order to receive recognition from National NSSLHA, students must achieve either Gold, Silver or Bronze status.

Gold

At least 180 hours of service per year

  • Local NSSLHA chapter — at least 120 hours of service per year.
  • State associations — at least 36 hours of service per year
  • National NSLSHA — at least 24 hours of service per year

Silver

At least 120 hours of service per year

  • Local NSSLHA chapters — at least 60 hours of service per year
  • State associations — at least 36 hours of service per year
  • National NSSLHA — at least 24 hours of service per year

Bronze

At least 60 hours of service per year

  • Local NSSLHA chapter — at least 30 hours of service per year
  • State associations — at least 18 hours of service per year
  • National NSSLHA — at least 12 hours of service per year

Benefits for Students Participating in the DSS

  • A good resume booster and a sign of your commitment and dedication
  • Increased opportunities to meet, connect, and socialize with CSD students and professionals
  • Unique chance to develop professional leadership skills in the area of service to the CSD discipline
  • Increased understanding of (a) how local NSSLHA chapters, state associations, National NSSLHA, and the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) are organized and operate, and (b) the programs/opportunities that are available in all of these different CSD associations
  • National NSSLHA recognition
  • Increased satisfaction with your local NSSLHA chapter, state association, and National NSSLHA. Members who regularly participate and volunteer for their professional associations are, overall, more satisfied with their associations versus those who do not regularly participate and volunteer (see The Decision to Volunteer, by B. Gazley & M. Dignam, 2008, Washington, DC: American Society of Association Leadership)

Possible Hours-of-Service Activities

Local NSSLHA Chapter

  • Serve as a NSSLHA chapter officer
  • Lead, volunteer for, and attend any local NSSLHA activities
  • Lead or attend local NSSLHA chapter meetings
  • Raise funds for use at the local level

State Associations

  • Volunteer for, participate in, and attend state conventions
  • Serve as a student member on state association boards
  • Raise funds for use at the state level
  • Advocate for CSD issues at the state level
  • Read state associations' websites, newsletters, and other communications

National NSSLHA

  • Read NSSLHA Now!, The ASHA Leader, NSSLHA's book Communication Sciences Student Survival Guide, the NSSLHA and ASHA websites, and e-mails from national NSSLHA and ASHA to members
  • Follow NSSLHA and ASHA on various social media channels
  • Make a relevant video to post on NSSLHA's YouTube channel
  • Raise funds for National NSSLHA fundraisers (e.g., the "NSSLHA Loves" campaign)
  • Assist a CSD student in joining National NSSLHA
  • Write/apply for NSSLHA Community Service or McKinley grants
  • Advocate for CSD issues on the federal level
  • Apply for NSSLHA Honors

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