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Students encouraged to volunteer through clubs

Students make sandwiches for TASK, a local soup kitchen.
Students make sandwiches for TASK, a local soup kitchen.

By Samantha Selikoff   Photo Editor

Just like many universities, the College has a community service requirement for students. However, after our freshman year, most are not obligated to volunteer any further. But with countless clubs aimed at helping others, there are many opportunities to give back to our community, on and off campus, that students do partake in.

This past weekend, it was evident that the College was more than a community when over 1,500 students gathered for Relay for Life, raising over $80,000 for the American Cancer Society. There was no requirement or obligation to go, yet students did, showing how dedicated they are to helping others.

Like many others here, the College is truly my second home because of the organizations with which I chose to get involved. College in general is  what you make it, and heading into freshman year, I knew that I wanted it to be the best four years possible. To do so, that meant I would continue to give back and volunteer. The College has countless opportunities to benefit those less fortunate, which I as well as many others, participate in.

There are many organizations to volunteer with on campus, including Water Watch, a club devoted to protecting the planet; Student United Way, a community service club which works closely with the local community; the Bonner Scholars, an application-based organization that works with Ameri-Corps and even Greek life, which all contribute to different philanthropies. 

“I joined Water Watch because I thought it would be a great opportunity to get involved on campus and help to save the environment,” sophomore history major Brett Peters said. “Community service to me means making a difference.”

As a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed fraternity dedicated toward community service, I feel that it is important to give back to the community as a whole.

One of the volunteer spots Alpha Phi Omega members serve is the Mercer County Food Bank, and it is amazing to see all the donations that come in.

Alpha Phi Omega also regularly teams up with other organizations such as the Bonner Scholars. Here, members of the fraternity volunteer with after-school programs at local schools such as Hedgepath-Williams. There, parents truly appreciate the volunteers and look to us as if we are the students’ teachers. They, in turn, even often respond positively to us, the actual volunteers.

While some organizations are dedicated solely to community service like Water Watch, Alpha Phi Omega and Bonner Scholars, others incorporate community service into their annual activities.

This year, the College’s Inner Greek Council organized TCNJam — a dance-a-thon to raise money for the B+ Foundation — raising a total of $50,566.54.

“(Inner Greek Council) had our heroes and their families come to be recognized and dance with us, and the founder of the organization came to be with us as well,” senior special education and psychology double major Emily Weisman said. “(The Greek community) could really see how our fundraising affected these people’s lives.”

Even though the College is a smaller scale school, students here still have the ability to make a big difference with the surrounding communities and even the world at large.

Like many other students, I believe that volunteering is a great way to help other people.

“I don’t partake in community service for recognition or a certain number of hours to boast about on my resume,” said junior accounting major Alyssa Blochlinger, who founded Student United Way at the College. “I volunteer because it’s something that I love to do. Being the reason behind someone’s smile is all I need to do it again. That’s what community service is -— a passion to make our world a better place for everyone to live in.”

There are many different events happening on and off campus that give back to the community. Student United Way held their second annual PB&J Race last week, where many different teams were created for organizations to truly come together to make as many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as possible. They were then all given to the local soup kitchen. This year, participants made 1,353 sandwiches.

In addition, Alpha Epsilon Pi just raised over $200 for Heroes to Heroes with their “Pie AEPi” event, where students could pay $1 to pie whipped cream into a brother’s face.

Alpha Phi Omega is set to hold their annual Kids Day Out event on Saturday, May 2, where organizations on campus come together to put on a free event for children from the surrounding areas to come and participate in.

Volunteering is a part of me, and it will always be a part of me, no matter what. Participation in these organizations is simply proof of that.

Winter may be the season for giving, but it seems that April is the month of giving back.

These clubs and organizations only show that students here at the College do not volunteer because they have to, but because they want to.

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