Volunteer and service opportunities offered to students year-round

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Veronica Clark, a student volunteer, picks spinach for the Crop Mob Open Petal Farm during last years earth week. Photo by Steven Green, The Campus Ledger

Kim Harms

News editor

kharms3@jccc.edu

Students can get involved with the community through a variety of programs and organizations offered by the college. Service and volunteer opportunities are offered year-round and are open to faculty, staff and the public.

Service-learning allows students to get involved on campus and in the community through service projects incorporated both in and out of the classroom. Tara Karaim, Service-Learning Coordinator, said professors work with students to combine service projects with the lessons they are teaching.

“Service-learning is kind of a unique, learning strategy where faculty implement a service opportunity in their classroom,” Karaim said. “They’re looking for service opportunities that satisfy the learning objectives of the course. If it’s a zoology course, they’ll look for volunteer opportunities where students are interacting with animals. Then you can take those [volunteer] experiences and you reflect on them in the classroom.”

Although service-learning is not currently hosting any volunteer events, they intend to host a donation drive in the spring. Karaim said she is also planning a service project for spring break and celebration event for Service-Learning students at the end of next semester.

“I think we’re always talking about projects and drives and I think we also want a celebratory service, an event at the end of the year where we get together, talk about our experiences, maybe even have some presentations,” Karaim said. “We’re gonna try to do some sort of drive, maybe in the spring. We were also looking at maybe implementing an alternative break, where on spring break we go somewhere and do a service project.”

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), an international honors society for students attending two-year colleges, offers several service opportunities every semester. Anna Page, Advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, said she wants the organization to be known by the college for its commitment and dedication to service.

“PTK not only has an academic component, they also have a focus on service,” Page said. “We’re trying to make it more robust and really have PTK become known as kind of the college service organization and to work on planning service events so that everyone wouldn’t have to be a PTK member in order to participate.”

PTK’s service projects always follow a theme called honors in action. This year their theme is helping those with disabilities and promoting inclusion. This year they held an Art Gala and donated the proceeds to The Whole Person, a non-profit organization in Kansas City, Mo.

“This year their theme is [helping] people with disabilities and being inclusionary. There’s [Planting Independence] which is for people with disabilities that are living on their own in group homes and helping them clean up their yards. Last spring they went to ReStore which is a store that re-uses housing furniture and proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.”

Enactus is another organization on campus centered on service. Barbara Millard, advisor for Enactus, said the organization focuses on identifying both local and international needs.

“Enactus is a national organization and the gist of it to have students identify needs in the community either on campus, in the community or in the world,” Millard said. “They identify needs, develop projects around those needs and learn project management skills that they would use in the work world.”

Last spring during Earth Week, Enactus hosted a denim drive for Cotton Incorporated, a national organization. The jeans are recycled and made into various materials such as insulation for houses. This year, Millard is encouraging students to market themselves by contacting local companies and bringing denim drives out to their locations.

“We collected denim which is then shipped to Cotton Incorporated and it is made into insulation and used in places like Habitat for Humanity,” Millard said. “Last semester we collected over 1,000 pounds of jeans and we had a wonderful company that said they would ship them for free. This year we will do that again in the spring, but right now we’re trying to get organized to have some students take [denim drives] out to companies.”

Students interested in learning more about service-learning and PTK can visit their websites here and here. Millard can be contacted at bmillard1@jccc.edu for more information on Enactus.

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