The headline Kent State Students In Action may conjure up images of weekend party celebrations but the reality is Kent State Students spend a lot more time making positive contributions to our community than the media images give them credit for. In the 2008-09 academic year over 2,555 students volunteered in the community providing more than 29,104 hours of service. Convert those hours to dollars and you’re looking at more than $589,372 worth of service given back to the community by Kent State students. Volunteers tend to be a humble lot which probably explains the lack of great fanfare for their work but if you ask the thousands of people that have benefitted from their help you’ll see a deep appreciation. That’s the recognition that really counts.
In the spirit of pay it forward, Kent State University and the City of Kent jointly sponsored a service event last year entitled “100 Hours of Service” which focused on work around town for residents that needed some help but for whatever reason couldn’t provide it by themselves. That’s where the students came in to lend a hand — or a bunch of hands in some cases.
During the 100 Hours of Service Event 290 volunteers from the community and university participated in a variety of service projects in our local community. Like most things in life, the work would not have been possible if it hadn’t been for special help from the University Inn, Shredd-It and Kent Office Supply, The Rock Cafe, Emilio Ferrara, City Antiques, UPS Store – Kent, Main Street Kent, and the Division of Enrollment Management and Students Affairs, Kent State University.
Service work is a great example of putting your money (or sweat equity) where your mouth is. Lots of people can talk a good game but when you get down to hammers and nails the number of volunteers gets pretty small pretty quick. That’s what makes the KSU numbers all that much more impressive. They’re were able to get close to 10% of their student body to volunteer in the community. I can’t help but wonder if as a community we’re getting an equivalent 10% of our residents who live here 12 months a year to give back to their community.
Here’s how Kent State promotes volunteerism to it’s student body that contains some great reminders for all of us:
The Benefits of Volunteerism
While volunteering makes a difference to those whom we serve, it also has great benefits for those who provide the service. Why volunteer?
Learn Something New – Develop a new skill, discover a hidden talent, add to your knowledge base. We should be life long learners. . . learning something new and exciting adds to the enjoyment and quality of our life.
Meet New People – Volunteering offers you the opportunity to meet new and diverse people and to develop lasting friendships and professional contacts.
Feel Good – Helping others makes you feel good about yourself. Think about it. . . can you think of something that makes you feel better inside than helping others? Whether it’s raising money for a cause you are passionate about or building a house as part of a Habitat project, chances are it will give you a sense of purpose and perhaps even a new perspective on life.
Gain Professional Skills – Volunteering is an excellent way to build your portfolio – add professional skills, expertise, and experience to your existing resume.
Become Connected to Your Community – Volunteering is a great way to become a part of the larger community – whether it’s your life on campus, your neighborhood, your city or town, or beyond. Volunteering can make you feel connected and part of something bigger than yourself.
Improve Your Health – New research indicates that there is a link between doing volunteer work for others and living a happier, healthier, longer life.
It’s The Right Thing to Do – “To whom much is given, much is expected.” As students receiving a higher education, living in America, having food, shelter, and other materials goods, you are privileged and have a responsibility to those who do not share your gifts of access. What better way to fulfill this responsibility than giving back?
If you know someone in our community that might need a helping hand, the Super Service Saturday program is full of hands looking for work.
Looking for something to do on the weekends? Be a volunteer for Super-Service Saturdays! Twice a month, you will have the opportunity to spend a few hours on Saturday volunteering at agencies around the area. Activities range from building a house, sorting clothes at various clothing centers, or collecting food for the hungry. There are so many ways to help! Super-Service Saturdays offer opportunities for you to become more connected with the community, in addition to providing you with valuable skills to be taken with you beyond the doors of the University. Transportation is provided.
To learn more about Super-Service Saturdays and to sign up, please contact Ann Gosky at 330-672-8004, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following service dates scheduled for the 2009-2010 academic year:
9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5
1/30, 2/13, 2/27, 3/6, 3/20, 4/10, 4/24, 5/1