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How to Give Back

Students pitch in during a 2015 service event at a nearby park.

Students pitch in during a 2015 service event at a nearby park.

CommServ Fair helps students discover how to make a difference

Students looking to make a positive difference recently got the chance to connect with fellow students already making their marks through CommServ Fair. Like the campuswide Activities Night, but focused solely on programs led by the Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice (CSSS), CommServ Fair gave students the chance to learn about the three main CSSS service programs: Justice is Served, Day of Service and CommServ. Each offers different ways to get involved, with varying levels of time commitment.

The Justice is Served program, formed last spring, combines several programs tapping a social-justice theme. Student representatives at the Feb. 1 CommServ Fair discussed an array of related opportunities on campus and beyond, including the annual Stop Hunger Now meal-packaging event, slated for Feb. 26. Dickinsonians involved with Day of Service take part in a one-day, campuswide event that brings students, faculty and staff together to help a variety of local nonprofits (for more information, visit the Forward Fair, Sunday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m., in the Social Hall).

CommServ volunteers select from more than a dozen programs offering weekly service opportunities. These include the retooled English as a Second Language program, which now brings student tutors together with U.S. Army War College students and their families; and Keep Hope, a new program launched by Legacy Watkins ’18 (Africana studies), a former Hope Station volunteer who saw a need for additional help. CommServ volunteers also work with children as mentors and tutors, develop arts programming for local schools, spend time with senior citizens, help inmates prepare for a high-school equivalency exam, help build homes for families in need and more.

Preeti Khanal ’19 (neuroscience) is the student coordinator for the service group Dream Catchers, a leadership position she accepted after volunteering with the program last year.  Every week, she and fellow Dream Catchers' mentors help local schoolchildren with homework and participate in a series of fun bonding and skill-building activities and events. “It’s a way to learn outside of class, get a break from campus and get involved in the outside community,” she says, adding, “I love the kids, and spending time helping them out, and seeing the excitement on their faces, makes me happy.”

If you missed the spring 2017 CommServ Fair or want to learn more about the CSSS special events, you can subscribe to the CSSS newsletter and connect to the center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Published February 2, 2017