Day of Service: Getting Acquainted with Service

The Stockton University Day of Service, held on September 9th, was a collection of events which emphasized service projects as well as being in places of leadership in the community. There, I was given the opportunity to be involved in three distinct service projects which each taught an individual lesson about diversity and leadership. As a precursor, I want to be forward that I believe that the effectiveness of the activities was inconsistent and where I gained little from one of them, another one meant a lot to me, and the third had a slight positive impact on me. I overall had a positive and enlightening experience at the Day of Service. Office Of Student Development logo. Get Involved text and Stockton University S

The first event that I took part in first was called “Books Without Borders.” This event consisted of separating and boxing books to be sent to areas less fortunate around the world. While the notion of this is splendid and was the reason I took part in it, I did not take full advantage of the event. My job was tearing old boxes into pieces to be used as packing insulation in the finished boxes of books. While I know this is a critical part of the process, I was disappointed in the fact that I was not more actively involved in processes directly regarding the books. However, this event did show me how much I take textbooks for granted as people in developing nations have use for even outdated and used textbooks. This also humbled me in the fact that I could be involved in the learning process of people who I have never met. A service project at its core is being involved in the betterment of others and I truly believe I was a cog in the machine for change at this event.

I was also given the opportunity to get involved with packaging meals for those who are starving around the world. With several teams of five, we helped package over ten thousand, six serving food systems to be sent internationally. Not only am I extremely proud of being involved in this, but I believe that this service project best represented what volunteer work is: helping others, working diligently, and using teamwork to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Not only did the food packaging require leadership qualities, but it let me get to know some other Stockton students within my team. I personally added dried vegetables to the food pouch before the package was sealed. I very much enjoyed how this activity was a sort of ice breaker for awkward college freshman, such as myself, as well as a powerful force for enacting change in the world community.

The final event I went to had the least impact on me personally, but was interesting nonetheless. I went to a presentation about drug misuse and learned some of the terms and stigmas associated with drug use in the Atlantic City area. Being new to New Jersey myself, this was a sort of history lesson for me about drugs in different parts of the state and how it differed from Illinois drug problems. As a drug-free student many of the problems of drug misuse do not impact me, but knowing how to spot drug problems and to help those who are misusing drugs is not information I plan to take lightly. Sometimes the catalyst for change in people’s lives is noticing and acting upon the signs they show. This information will lead me to be a more aware and involved student, and further, person, who can enact that change in people’s lives.

I did have to leave early due to family matters and thus did not get to enjoy a fourth event like many of my fellow students, but I believe that this is factor is unimportant. I believe the true nature of Day of Service is to take students and introduce them to a lifestyle incorporating volunteer work and community involvement. Even with three events I am ready to volunteer again and excited to further my involvement in the world community. There is another day of service coming up and I plan to take advantage of the benefits it provides.

Day of Service (9/9/17)

Many can agree that giving back to the community is a very rewarding thing to do in your spare time. After seeing the first poster for Day of Service, I pre-registered right away. I was excited to see the different volunteer activities that were planned for that day. This was my first Day of Service so it was all new to me. There were different organizations within and even outside of the school itself, Alpha Lambda Delta, Active Minds, and Books Without Borders to name a few. With a high number of volunteers, we were split into groups by the color of our name tag. Each group had roughly 80 people. I thought this was interesting and a smart thing to do although some people already knew this was how things were done. Therefore, they made sure their friends had the same color they did when getting the name tags to begin with. Either way, it was still a good thing to be able to meet new people being in such a large group overall.

One activity that stood out to me was with Alpha Lambda Delta. They were focusing on educating about cerebral palsy. All of the volunteers made ribbons for cerebral palsy awareness. It was during their presentation that I learned about the Field of Dreams which is a local organization that gets kids with any disability, not just cerebral palsy, out on the baseball field to play a game. Each person has someone with them to help them along throughout the game. It seems like it would be a great experience for everyone involved. I made sure to take down information for them in order to volunteer. I’m sure I couldn’t have been the only one interested in the Field of Dreams. In my opinion, Alpha Lambda Delta had a powerful message and made some people realize a few things about cerebral palsy that they didn’t know before. There are also people within Alpha Lambda Delta that either have a form of cerebral palsy or are closely affected by it through relatives. This made their message even better because they could relate and tell you first hand the different things that go on in someone’s life with cerebral palsy.

What seemed to be liked by a lot of people was packaging meals. I personally agree with this. On the way to this specific volunteer activity I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean packaging meals, obviously. However, I had never done this. I didn’t know how it happened or what was being packaged. When we got to the activity, gloves and hair nets were given out in order to not contaminate the food. At this point, I knew it was a legitimate thing and we were about to package a lot of meals. People dispersed to different stations of the food packaging and where you were determined your team. Each person had an important job in order to sufficiently pack meals. The music played and we began. The feeling of working in a group to do something for the greater good of people is just an amazing feeling. Every time we reached 1,000 meals packaged a gong was hit. This just fueled everyone even more. By the end, the group I was in made 13,000 packaged meals. All of the groups combined made about 45,000 meals to give to the hungry. That’s absolutely mind boggling to me that groups of college students were able to make such a great impact on the world.  

The Day of Service is definitely something I will continue to participate in at my time here at Stockton. I encourage everyone to do so as well; it’s a great experience.

When the Tables Turn

From January 31 to February 1, Stockton University held its Spring Get-Involved Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in A- I atrium. This is when all the clubs and organizations all advertise their groups to recruit members through tabling and the event usually takes place in the beginning of each semester. In the fall semester, my first one here at college, I was taken aback and slightly overwhelmed by all the possible teams I could join, “Should I go Greek? Maybe I should do something different and join Stockton Entertainment Team? Perhaps I could stay with my usual course and join Biological Society?” These thoughts poured through my mind and by the end of my visits to the tables, I was left with 50 pamphlets and no decision. In the fall, I decided to leave no bias and join each and every club’s email list (a decision which my piling mailbox now makes me regret) and attend each club’s meeting at least once. From there, I deduced my many club choices to just 2 to stay focused in them and still spare attention for academics, sports, etc.

Now, during the spring semester, instead of serving as the frantic freshman listening to each club’s pitch, I was tabling for Commuters on the Go and sitting on the opposite side of where I once stood. It was me who was now convincing students why my club was worth joining. The perspective had changed in less than a year and this was already evidence of me growing up. So what? I was able to learn how to convince students to join through my reflection on how others convinced me. This turned into a small learning project for me. In summary, this event was well worth attending and I would recommend it to any freshman-grad student who considers joining a club/organization.

M.L.K. Day of Service

The day before winter break ended, on January 16, and before the dreaded course work was thrown onto us again, Stockton University held a Day of Service in memory of Martin Luther King who committed his life to helping others. The event was held in the Campus Center Event Room and began with a series of speakers before the large group of eager volunteers was sectioned off into different service events hosted by a diversity of clubs and organizations. At first, my friend and I joined a group that assisted with tutoring prison inmates in basic schooling such as algebra in order to help them receive their educational goals. However, after realizing that this required a lengthy application process instead of being able to volunteer on the spot, we switched over to Books without Borders where we were able to assist with the transportation and organization of books which would be sent to Zimbabwe.

By being hands-on with the service, I was able to directly view its impact. After the service projects had all ended, we were all given a brief reflection session as well as a shirt/scarf!

I would recommend doing this event to anyone who wishes to serve their community and greater good of society.

Achieving my Dreams

Two years ago, during junior year of high school, my best friend asked me to join the cross country team after I expressed my passion for running. I laughed it off and joked, “No, no, not that type of running.” What I really meant to say was that although I really enjoyed running, I would run at most 1 mile or 2 miles if I was willing to push myself on a daily basis. I really did not think I was capable of running more than this distance until I came to Stockton University and decided to try something new. At first, in September and beginning of October, I was following the same training plan that I created for myself in high school. Then, I decided, “Well, what if I wanted to do more?” I pushed myself to run 3 miles and increased this to 5 and eventually 10. By the time I reached the last mark, I told myself that I had to race in order to truly mark my achievements. My heart was set on running on a half-marathon and for the next 4 months, I trained for this race and completely changed my lifestyle as I went. There was such a thrill in obtaining the once “unreachable” and I was about to grab it.

On Sunday, April 9, I woke up at 4:30 am with my stomach in knots and pre-race anxiety as thoughts ran through my mind. Why was I nervous? I had trained for months, followed a strict diet plan, and even planned my outfit a week in advance. As my dad and I picked up my friend and drove down to Rutgers reaching there almost 1 hour before the race, we were able to experience the pre-race rush before the wave of runners came into the area. Then, they started calling us into line and suddenly the moment I was preparing months for was REAL. It was all real. The gunshot rang and the runners blasted off. The first few miles, I could not stop myself from smiling like a dork with the euphoria just rushing in. By mile 10, my face was a different story, but my hard work and training kept me going towards the finish line. The finish line was a sense of relief and greatness; inexplicable by simple words.

Already, I am thinking of when I can race again and how I can improve my race by working on pace, posture, etc. There is always room for improvement; overall, my goal here is to show that if you set your mind to it, anything is possible. When I first started running, my parents even doubted that I would go further than 3 miles as a concern of health and family history rather than discouragement. Regardless, I was the first one in my family to run such a long race and defy all the odds. Often, you read the stories of the great unattainable feats athletes, scientists, etc. go through. Well, here is a small story of a common college girl who was able to break her own barriers and is on the way to joining the cross country team she once laughed off.

Afternoon of Service (2-28)

A couple hours a week of simple community service can add to your living and soon enough it will not be community service as much as it will become part of weekly routine. On Tuesday, February 28, from 4:30-6 in Meeting Room 5, my club, Commuters on the Go hosted an Afternoon of Service where the main service project was creating tote bags. The task was fairly simple; align two pieces of cloth and sew three sides together, then attach a handle. However, the effect was lasting. Seeing how easily a small group of people could create 10-15 tote bags in a little over an hour was magnifying and although these bags may serve no regular purpose for those creating the bags, they make a large impact for the homeless people to whom they were being donated to. Rather than simply donating food or money which is a short-period expense, this clothing bag lasts forever and serves as a substitute to plastic bags or carts and helps develop a sense of security for personal items. Following the service session, there was a reflection which helped to open all our minds and hearts regarding our opinions of homeless people. Our common perception is that these individuals are lazy and treated below the status of human for their lack of belongings which typically generate trust and security (car, house, etc.). Yet, after some thought, we all poured in ideas that these are just everyday people who have encountered slight bumps in the road and many of them do have jobs, simply just not enough to sustain a home.

This service and reflection made me understand why I go to college: not just to be educated in the sciences, but everyday issues which surround us. Days like these should be attended at least once a month to retain their purpose.

 

Philly Trip

On October 2, the freshman Honors group, took a trip to Plays and Players Theater on 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia from 11-5 and experienced a political satire. From start to end, the whole trip was memorable. The actual satire was very enlightening and very informational regarding the surrounding politics. The view remained unbiased and the actors composed good representations. The building itself was very antique and small from the outside, although it was spacious on the inside. In addition, the architecture of the facilities was definitely a reflection of the history of the community.

The trip provided us with a great view of Philly and this adventure included a 45 minute hunt for lunch, only to end up a Wawa.

I would recommend this trip to any Honors student or any incoming student who wishes to join the Honors community to embark in trips such as these.

Day of Leadership

Although I was simply the secretary of a small-time club, I was still eager to attend this event to learn how I could improve my leadership skills. On Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 a.m. in the Campus Center Event Room, I attended the Day of Leadership. Upon walking into the room, I was able to view leaders of all types of experience from club leaders to resident’s assistants to even a couple professors. The morning started off with a guest speaker who introduced the idea of being innovative with even the smallest of tasks and speaking up. The concept of leading can come from the most minuscule of tasks and he was able to inspire many individuals, including myself, with the talks he delivered. After lunch, the group separated into different meeting rooms where several speakers delivered their own presentations regarding their own subjects. The one I attended discussed creating his own pin as small project and handing it out to others to share quotes from his book. These motivational phrases were soon spread through the world of celebrities earning him the just fame which he deserved. This was very fascinating to see how many people commended his efforts and how a mini project could grow so large. Afterwards, Stockton faculty and students presented their own “TED Talks” and then the day was to an end.

From this session, I learned the importance of trying new projects and speaking up. I would recommend this to anyone who desires to be a better leader and individual in their community.

Rice, Grains, and More Rice

Rice and grains

I am relieving the pain

Of hunger.

Third world countries suffer

And I serve as the buffer

This short poem describes the following: On September 10, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the downstairs B-C atrium, the Stockton students and I were able to provide hundreds of food packages to individuals and families in need. The package included vitamins, protein grains, and rice grains. There were three different stations: one packaged the vitamins and grains, the next poured in rice and weighed the bag to a certain amount of grams, and the last sealed the bag. This drill was repeated again and again and successfully completed. After a checkpoint number of bags, a bell was rung to remind the volunteer of how many bags were completed and how many were left. This lasted for approximately one hour before the groups of volunteers shifted onto the next rotation; however, since my friends and I enjoyed this activity so much, we chose to come back to the rice packages for round two. We were able to bond and serve a practical purpose for the community with this encouraging activity. The event was well organized and many others seemed to appreciate donating their time early on Saturday morning as much as I did. Often, volunteering carries a negative connotation and causes people to stray away from it; nonetheless, the impact it creates is large and just on that one day, the Stockton students and faculty were able to donate such a large amount with a minimal amount of time.

Rather than any particular clubs or organizations establish such an event, the university itself took a large role in organizing the activity and encouraging a large turnout. For the almost 8 hours of service, there was the given incentive of a Stockton lunch which, as always, consisted of sandwiches and wraps, accommodating all food needs. For attending the event, students also received a t-shirt and I still see some of my friends wearing it today. I hope that this event encouraged my fellow students as much as it did to spend their time for someone other than themselves. I would recommend this event to any student, regardless of their class or age. The chance to socialize over a useful event was advantageous for all the participants.

In summation, the Day of Service highlighted that the school which we attend looks out for the best intentions of its students as well as other persons. The liberal arts college has its own real life applications and events like these may only occur every once in a while making it all more essential to attend the activities. If anything, these hours can be collected and added to a resume which will boost a student’s chances of being hired to a professional job or being accepted to graduate school. Volunteering has so many added benefits, so one might as well try it out.

Election Party

On November 8th, from 7:00p.m. to 12:00a.m. there was an Election Party in the board of trustees room in the Stockton University Campus Center. This event was open to all students, and showed live feed of the election results, while providing friendly competitions to win prizes and refreshments. At the party they had cake, pizza, popcorn, and drinks for students to snack on while watching the votes come in. In the meantime, students were also given the opportunity to guess the Electoral College results, in hopes of winning a cardboard cutout of one of the candidates. I had also attended the previous debate parties, and the turnout for this event was enormous compared to the previous events. I showed up a little late because I had a class right before and when I got to the board of trustees room it was hard to even find a seat!
At the event overall there was a very good energy. People were very invested in what history was being made right before their eyes. Donald Trump did much better in states that he was not projected to do as well in, such as Ohio. Hillary Clinton kept Virginia for the Democratic party, which was a big win for her, as well as winning California, which carries a staggering 55 electoral votes. Other states like Florida and Pennsylvania took a very long time to reveal the winners for, but Donald Trump ended up winning both of those states.
The whole results progress of the election was nail-biting for everyone in the room, no matter who they were there supporting. It went back and forth for hours, finally resulting in the victory of Donald Trump. The swing states gave him the victory that most people did not expect him to have. This came to the shock of many people, especially since the media made it seem like Hillary Clinton had an almost guaranteed victory. Going to this event was very worthwhile, because of the excitement it added to watching the results come in.