You’re always told to get involved in college; many people even go far as to say it’s the first thing you should do when getting to your new campus. There are countless academic clubs, activity boards and committees to join. Those clubs are great opportunities to improve your campus, but my advice is to also look into joining clubs or organizations that help the community.
My school offers a lot of different ways to give back. This fall, I joined Students with a Vision (SWAV), a club made up of volunteers who provide service to organizations in the surrounding areas. Since joining, I have sorted clothes to be donated, have helped the elderly prepare for the winter months by raking leaves and later this spring, I will help paint city schools to help provide a better educational environment for kids.
We also have the Teddi committee, which puts on a 24-hour dance marathon to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times, a local camp for kids who are suffering from cancer. Although I don’t usually make it the whole 24 hours, I have made an effort to participate the last two years. This year, I even went the extra mile to donate 10 inches of hair right at the dance to benefit those kids with cancer.
Additionally, we also have organizations represented like Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), an organization that hosts events all year long to raise money for cancer research and puts on a Relay For Life event at Fisher every year. The school puts on blood drives, hosts service trips (including one to Jamaica) and sends volunteers to local schools to teach.
Giving back is a sure way to make yourself feel better. Too often in college, we get so wrapped up in what we have to do that we forget how difficult life can be. It’s a privilege to get an education and we forget that there’s a world going on out there that includes many people who don’t get the chance to go to college, or even the chance to just eat. Joining a club that gives back is a good way to forget yourself for maybe an hour or two and help others.
Volunteering with other students is great a way to get to know other people with similar interests, too. Maybe you’ll meet your new best friend and you two will continue to give back your whole lives. Also, giving back allows you to learn about different people and situations. Not only will you learn about what is happening in your community, but you will also learn quite a bit about yourself (just ask those people who do the full 24 hours at Teddi).
Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.