The divine art and science of doing good – the belief Olivet College was founded on. To uphold that purpose, once a semester students gather to perform service to the Olivet community and beyond. This fall, Service Day will be Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Started in the mid-90s, Service Day has been a tradition of the college for about 20 years. Projects are organized by Carrie Jacob ’14, the college’s community service coordinator. Clubs, organizations and different groups around campus and the community have the ability or host or request projects for the big day, which often actually spans over weeks.
“I didn’t start doing meaningful service until I came to Olivet College as a student in 2010, and I was hooked from the beginning,” said Jacob. “I think the same thing happens for other students, too. Sometimes you just need an opportunity to do something nice for another individual on Service Day or on a service trip, and you’ll realize that you’ve been missing out.”
Many projects focus on bettering the campus and surrounding areas with environmental efforts. Jake Schuler, assistant dean of student life, is leading a campus clean-up project to benefit the residence halls. Other projects include tidying up the Mawby Native Plant Garden near the KC and planting acorns from Olivet oak trees at the Kirkelldel Biological Station.
Joanne Williams, associate professor of journalism/mass communication, facilitates an annual community outreach group to revamp the Oak Chest, a local Olivet business that donates profits to OC student scholarships, every Service Day.
In addition, Olivet students will be taking part in two special events in the greater Lansing area that continue into October. Criminal justice students are traveling to Lansing for the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk, a fundraising event to benefit research efforts by the National Down Syndrome Association. In addition, Jason Meadows ‘03, associate dean of student life, is organizing a trip for students involved with Greek organizations to attend the CROP Walk in Charlotte.
A new event this year has been organized by junior Sara Line, vice president of community service for Gamma Iota Sigma, the college’s professional insurance and risk management society, and president of the Veterans’ Advocate Group. The group will be polishing the World War I monument located in the Square. GIS has several more service events scheduled throughout the fall, including a long-term pop can tab drive for the Ronald McDonald House. Sara, and other Olivet students, are pictured left during the Thornapple River Clean-Up organized by GIS.
“I enjoy being involved with the service efforts at Olivet College because community service has always been close to my heart, and I’ve always enjoyed bettering the communities around me,” Line said. “One of my favorite service projects was when football players read to students at local elementary schools. The looks on the younger students’ faces showed how big of an impact we were making right away. There’s never been a service opportunity that I took part in that didn’t make me feel rewarded in return.”
The service doesn’t end in Olivet or even in Michigan. National service trips are also available to Olivet students. Trips are often scheduled over spring break and provide students with the opportunity to not only travel, but to do good while they are visiting other parts of the country. Recently, students provided flood relief work in Georgetown, S.C. “Olivet College was founded on the purpose of doing good to others and the community, and it lives on today through Service Day and other service endeavors,” said Jacob. “It’s great for our students because they are learning through service, and it’s great for the Olivet and surrounding communities.”
Check your email for updates on Service Day or contact Carrie Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org for a full list of service events and information to register.