SE presents student service opportunities

Blaze Blain searches the volunteer opportunities displayed in the computer lab of the Student Union’s third floor. Plenty of chances to serve are available.

Chrissy Dill, Staff Writer

Towards the end of the college experience, students begin thinking about their future career. Everyone knows a must-have document for a successful job interview is an impressive resume. One particular item that makes for a notable resume is volunteer work or community service.

Community service projects might seem difficult to find in Durant, but Southeastern offers several outlets that provide students with opportunities to give back to their communities.

“SE provides several opportunities for volunteer work or community service,” said Camille Phelps, dean of students. “There are many different types of volunteering you can participate in located in the Durant area.”

Southeastern acknowledges its students who volunteer their time and effort with a program called Students in Service. A branch of AmeriCorps, called Campus Partners, provides awards to 20 students from various campuses across Oklahoma.

Students who choose to participate in community service have the opportunity to receive a Campus Compact Award in the form of a $1,132 voucher to go toward their current schooling. Volunteers must be current SE students and provide their birth certificates and complete a pre-service questionnaire. To receive a Campus Compact Award, students must also sign up for one year of community service. This work must be done throughout the community, not on campus.

Students must complete 300 hours of work within one calendar year to receive a Campus Compact voucher. To sign up to be a part of Students in Service at SE, contact Carrie Williamson in the Academic Affairs Office room 307 of the Administration Building or call 745-2200. To view an online pre-service overview before signing up, visit studentsinservice.org.

SE has numerous student organizations that have philanthropies they are involved in. There are many different forms of community service in which these organizations, specifically fraternities and sororities, participate.

Several student organizations at SE give their time and effort in volunteer work through the United Way program. United Way provides many different types of opportunities to give back including the Clothing Closet, Families Feeding Families and Meals on Wheels.

There are also chances to help clean up flowerbeds and playgrounds around your community and to read to children at their school.

The Student Government Association conducts events that incorporate volunteering, like their canned-food drive during Homecoming week.

Other organizations, like the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), take their volunteering worldwide with their missionary trips to various underprivileged villages in Africa and other places.

If you are involved with a student organization on campus, get involved with their community service projects or make a suggestion for volunteer work.

Though there are a variety of student organizations that participate in volunteer work, giving back to underprivileged communities is being implemented in the classroom as well. Dr. Shannon McCraw’s Principles of Public Relations course, required for advertising/public relations majors, has collected donations for nonprofit organizations for the past two years.

As part of the course, students are put into groups and must construct a media kit and a stop-motion video to promote the organization. They must also conduct several fundraising events in order to collect donations to send to the organization.

This semester, the Principles of Public Relations students are promoting the organization Heifer International,  which sends livestock and other animals to underprivileged villages to supply them with long-lasting resources. Be on the look out for booths or events going on until Dec. 30 that are organized by these groups of students to raise money for Heifer. Donation will go to a family in need.

If you’re not involved in an organized student organization or you’re not in a class that’s participating, don’t worry. There are still many opportunities to volunteer and help someone in need.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters is an organization that lets you make a lasting difference in a child’s life through friendship. According to the information found on the organization’s brochure, children matched with big brothers and sisters are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to start using drugs, 27 percent less likely to start drinking, less likely to lie to their parents and more likely to have better relationships with their peers.

You are matched with a local Little based on similar interests and expressed preferences. In only two to four times per month, you spend time with your Little by hanging out and building a friendship. Big Brothers and Big Sisters provides the opportunity to be a friend and help a child develop important skills they will use to build relationships in their life.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters have office locations in Texas, the closest being in Sherman.

Volunteering your services at a local nursing home is another way to give back to your community. There are several nursing homes in the Durant area that are more than happy to have your help with their residents, one of them being Oak Ridge Nursing Home, located on North 21st Ave and Oak Ridge Drive. Volunteers can help the nurses with the residents and develop friendships with the patients. Engaging in different types of activities or games with the residents provides them with some fun in their days.
You can also help the elderly by volunteering for a hospice program as well. Sunshine Hospice, on 16th Street, is looking for volunteers who will play an essential role in maintaining the quality of life for their patients and their families.

According to hospice’s brochure, volunteers are the lifeblood of the hospice program, and they do everything from visiting and reading to patients and mowing yards to writing thank you notes or making phone calls. You can choose to work directly with the patients and their families or do other jobs that indirectly affect them. Either way, volunteers make up the heart of hospice, and are an excellent opportunity to help people in need.

If you just can’t make up your mind about which organization you’d like to volunteer for, United Way provides many to choose from. Here are just a few: Bryan County Youth Services, Crisis Control Center, Families Feeding Families, Meals on Wheels, Salvation Army and Red River Special Olympics. To further explore these opportunities, call Bryan County United Way at 931-7147 and get involved with something great.

Not only does volunteer work look good on a resume, it provides you with the opportunity to help those not as fortunate as yourself. Even if your effort or action seems very small in your eyes, the effect may not seem so small to people who are in need.

If you want to volunteer, contact Phelps and she will get you pointed in the right direction. For access to lots of brochures and information on the organizations discussed in this article, go to the computer lab on the third floor of the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

Photo by Alisha Loyd