Georgia Southern University Students Give Back On Campus, In Community Through Thousands of Volunteer Hours
For many Georgia Southern University students, earning a degree is just part of their college experience; they are also volunteering their time to help others.
Georgia Southern students have volunteered nearly 16,000 service hours during the 2009-10 academic year, according to the University’s Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. Students have logged 8,209 hours of community service (working with local non-profits such as the Red Cross, United Way and Habitat for Humanity) and 7,679 hours of university service (helping with programs such as the Residence Hall Association, Southern Ambassadors and Eagle Entertainment).
“We encourage students to volunteer on the campus and in the community they call home,” said Diana Hensley, coordinator of civic engagement. “Community service enriches a student’s college experience and helps set graduates apart when seeking jobs and admission to graduate study programs.”
The Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement keeps students’ hours “active” for six years after they enter Georgia Southern; during the past six years, students have logged over 75,000 volunteer hours. That includes 103 current students who have contributed over 200 hours of volunteer service and 119 students who have put in 100-200 hours.
While most of the volunteer work is done on-campus or in the Statesboro/Bulloch County community, some students venture farther away to help. During the 2009-10 school year, the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement offered week-long service trips to the following places (with the number of participants in parenthesis): Give Kids the World, Kissimmee, Fla. (21); Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9); Honduras (10); Little Rock, Ark. (18); A Place for Hope, Rock Hill, S.C. (13); Freeport, Bahamas (14); and Jacksonville, Fla. (14).
Cory Zahner, a graduate student in the MBA program, said participating in the Give Kids the World trip showed him that “volunteering is so beneficial to the ones who are grateful for it as well as the volunteers themselves. Everybody gets something out of it, whether big or small. I enjoyed it so much that I hope I can inspire more of my friends to volunteer with me.”
“Volunteering helps me to remember that it’s not all about me. It is refreshing to do something for someone else and not focus on myself,” said Brooke Millard, a rising senior nutrition/food science major who was co-leader of the Smoky Mountains trip.
Millard said that working long hours to make trail improvements at the national park ‘absolutely” inspired her to do more volunteer work. “We got hot, dirty and sweaty and, at the end of the day, we felt satisfied with what we had done and knowing we had worked hard,” she said. “I also got to see the natural beauty of the mountains. I have a better appreciation for the outdoors and the people who are committed to keeping it beautiful.”
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers 115 degree programs serving 19,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.