Why You Should Participate in Service at Lafayette?

As a college student, I understand the rigorous demand of classes. After a long day of school work you just want to go to your dorm, watch Netflix, and try to forget about the overwhelming stress of your day. But, you know what is equally as relieving as binge-watching your favorite show? Participating in service! There are many reasons why you should get involved in service at Lafayette, so I’ll just take you through a few.

 

  1. Participating in service is a great way to relieve stress and give your brain a break from school work.

  2. By participating in service, you will be able to forge new connections and build friendships with people you would have never interacted with otherwise.

  3. Volunteerism supports the community and the engagement between different groups of people.

 

On an introspective level, service in Easton allows you to get away from campus for a couple hours. Whether you are walking to a neighboring elementary school on College Hill or driving to an animal or women’s shelter downtown, you are still able to temporarily leave your rigorous academic environment and preoccupy your mind with something other than academic work.

 

Best Buddies, a national program that forges relationships and fosters opportunities between college students and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, allows Lafayette students to befriend people from Easton with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Jenn Burkhart (class of 19’), who founded the Best Buddies program at Lafayette, has developed an amazing connection with her Buddy over the last three years. “Allen is fully and completely one of my best friends. We text nearly every day and he always manages to bring a smile to my face no matter how overwhelmed and stressed I am with school work. Allen is an incredible young man and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to meet him.”

 

Service also allows you to connect with younger generations. Paxinosa Elementary School, home of the little leopards (aw!), partners with Lafayette to motivate and mentor their student body. The school implements programs that allow Lafayette students to help organize events or assist the school weekly to inspire higher attendance and give students that don’t have a stable role model the opportunity to look up to a smart, strong-willed college student.

 

The poverty rate of Easton is 18.9 percent, which is nearly 5 percent higher than the national average. Although Lafayette is on College Hill, it is still part of the Easton community and we owe our neighbors a helping hand. Safe Harbor and Third Street Alliance are two local women and children's shelters that encourage volunteerism from Lafayette students. A lot of these women have been through excruciating hardships that have resulted in heavy losses. The Meals on Third Street program provides food for these family to ease their economic burden and help land them back on their feet.

 

Now that you’re sold on volunteering you’re probably asking yourself, how can I get involved? Don’t  worry, there are a couple of different ways to learn about volunteer opportunities on campus. The first way is through social Greek life. Each Greek chapter raises money for a specific organization through events like spinnings. Some Greek organizations even volunteer weekly; for example, Pi Beta Phi goes to the Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Room in Easton regularly. One of the disadvantages of relying on social Greek life for service opportunities is that you might not be able to choose a volunteer opportunity that you’re really passionate about, as each chapter works mostly with one organization.

 

A second great volunteering opportunity is through Alpha Phi Omega, an international service and leadership fraternity. Alpha Phi Omega, or APO, is dedicated to direct service and singular service events with different ways to get involved each week! However, joining APO also requires a set number of fellowship hours so if you do not have the time to dedicate towards all parts of this organization, it might not be the right fit for you.

 

MOSAIC programs, which are run through the Landis Center on campus, are the best way to participate in direct service. The Landis Center fosters community engagement by creating a partnership with local organizations to contribute to the well being of our local and global communities. The MOSAIC programs provide opportunities for students to volunteer weekly in many different areas of service. However, sometimes it is hard to get involved in these programs because they fill up fast and if volunteers from previous semesters want to continue they get first priority.

 

The benefits of participating in service are infinite, from a much needed break from school, to the ability to meet cool new people. Lafayette makes getting involved super easy through greek life, clubs, and the Landis Center. If you are super passionate about a project, you could even apply to create your own MOSAIC program, leading a team of eager volunteer in an area of service you’re extremely excited about. Now that you know all the benefits of service and the specific ways to get involved, there's nothing stopping you from making a difference!