Student opportunity to serve community

WADE FULLERTON
STAFF WRITER

For many students on Alma’s campus, the rewarding feeling of helping the community resonates as a beacon of active volunteerism for students in Gratiot county; this beacon gives the college the reputation for service and philanthropy reaching outside of the college’s property.

Campus services for the greater community have always been around, and they continue to support those willing to broaden their minds healthily. After all, volunteerism lives up to the college mission to actively encourage students to serve generously now and throughout their lives.

“I’ve seen many students try to embody the value that Alma College places community service highly and that allows the community to see that the college cares about volunteerism beyond the campus,” said Malayna Hasmanis, at the Center of Student Opportunity.

The passion for serving the community exists in many places on campus; however, the roadblock that can discourage a student from attending can be a block between the potential volunteer and the private organization.

“One of the most predominate tools that students can use to access volunteering opportunities in the community can be found through the website called Helper Helper,” said Hasmanis.

The Helper Helper platform provides a wide variety of listings that students can take part in to volunteer within the community. Through the site’s effective tracking, a student can easily record their hours spent enriching others.

“Opportunities can range from Kid’s Night Out, writing cards to veterans or serving at a homeless shelter,” said Hasmanis.

The Hope Shelter in St. Louis is a larger homeless shelter in Gratiot county that attracts the attention of volunteers from the local area. For students and community members interested in assistance, The Hope House is always looking for volunteers to help out.

Signing up for an event on Helper Helper is comfortable, easy and provides the date, time and place of the service looking for potential volunteers to contribute to a noble cause.

“If students choose not to utilize Helper Helper, they can certainly access United Way of Gratiot and Isabella Counties that grant access to countless non-profit organizations that provide different service opportunities as well,” said Hasmanis.

The CSO – Center for Student Opportunity – is always open to help students independently create their custom service that utilizes their passions to help the community.

“A student can contact different staff members on campus, and they can coordinate their efforts to create a specific career opportunity that creates new student service connections,” said Hasmanis.

The Athletics Program has a positive mentality that helping the community is a critical element of the student athletes on campus.

“Athletic departments participate a lot in Helper Helper – as I can break it up in teams – athletics hold a higher number of active volunteering hours,” said Hasmanis.

This mentality has been instilled into their program. The responsibility of a student involved in Alma College athletics must devote time to aiding the community and those numbers show that they are holding volunteer service to a high standard.

“My goal has been breaking down boundaries between students and nonprofits, so I can show students that’s very feasible and accessible for them to participate in those events,” said Hasmanis.

Breaking down these barriers can potentially invite more students into volunteering for the community than turning them away because of communication barriers between nonprofits outside of campus.

“Service can be in the form of advocacy or completing a mentorship program,” said Hasmanis.

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