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Service Day is one of the deepest rooted traditions at Olivet College. Each semester, students dedicate a day to perform community service, and each year the campus and community is better for it. Not only is the physical atmosphere changed, but Comets often share that the event enacts personal change as well.

“Volunteering is often seen as an act done onto others, but rarely do we consider the benefits within ourselves,” said Jacob Richards ’18, community service coordinator. “Just as physical activity increases one’s strength, volunteering increases one’s humanity. When we take time to help others in need because it is the right thing to do, we grow our compassion. We shift our views of others from them to us. We, as the human race, unite. Olivet’s Service Day is a small step in the right direction of changing the minds of our students for a better tomorrow.”

Tatum Oxford

Sophomore Tatum Oxford is a biology major with a premedical concentration from Cedar Springs. She’s part of the Olivet College Difference Makers, a program that celebrates students dedicated to community service. Tatum is an active participant in each annual Service Day and has even organized and led her own service projects. She has also attended a number of service trips, including trips to Texas and Tennessee.

“I participated in a small group effort to clean up the area surrounding Oak Hill Apartments,” Tatum explained. “I was motivated to do this project because I live in Oak Hill Apartments and the littering had been getting out of hand. Littering hurts my heart; not only is it bad for nature but it makes the campus look less appealing. My favorite part of the project was the final result. The woods and parking lots are free of clutter now!

“Service is important because we cannot rely on everyone else to make a difference. We must take it upon ourselves to create change to see results. Performing service has also allowed me to make many personal connections that I would not have made otherwise. I feel happy knowing that I am capable of making a difference. I encourage others to perform service because you become more conscious of your daily actions by doing so — you might become less prone to litter or you become more aware of those that surround you.”

Brianna Thurlby

Senior Brianna Thurlby is a criminal justice and environmental science major from Ionia. She has a special passion for a clean and safe community, reflected in her path of study. Brianna is also a member of Soronian. Greek organizations regularly participate in College-hosted service projects and often plan or take part in additional Greek-based service efforts.

“I participated in the Kedron River cleanup and park cleanup with my sisters from Soronian,” Brianna said. “Working with a large group of girls allowed us to cover more area and pick up trash that may have littered the river, park and baseball field. It’s a great feeling knowing that the park is cleaner for kids to play in and that we are helping make Olivet cleaner than it was before.

“Service is important because it allows you to make a difference in the world. I have become a better individual by doing service because I learned the importance of helping others and improving the community. I encourage others to serve because making a difference in someone’s life or within your community is a good feeling. Even though it may not be a big difference, you are still helping others in a positive way.”

Jacob notes just how impactful Brianna’s work was. “I am very proud of the students who participated in Service Day this semester. I am especially proud of the sorority, Soronian, who finished their project cleaning the Kedron River and then assisted a group of students at the park in downtown Olivet. This is a perfect example of the values we aim to instill within our students,” Jacob said.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu. Contact Jacob Richards at jrichards@olivetcollege.edu or 269.749.7127 to hear about the awesome opportunities available to Difference Makers, students dedicated to community service.

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