Meshach Roberts | Staff Writer
Even though the holiday season is over, it is never too early in the year to start giving the gift of giving. Many students at Hampton University try and aid the community whether it is for other students or helping off campus in the Hampton Roads area. Anyone interested in volunteer work and community service opportunities will find out that Hampton has tons of options when it comes to giving back.
Teachers are often an untapped resource for students. Keshia Capers, a junior, chemical engineering major from Lusby, Maryland, decided to help others through an opportunity given from Mentoring African-Americans class advisor. This social science elective allowed her to mentor children at the Boys and Girls Club.
Opportunities like this give real world experience and allow students to learn teaching skills. “We were in charge of making lesson plans for the assigned mentee and creating journal entries after each visit,” said Capers. Although the class ended last semester, Capers still volunteers weekly.
There are other mentoring programs on campus as well. The Education Talent Search program offers two mentoring opportunities that typically start in the fall. Boyz 2 Men and Sister 2 Sister allow university students to serve as role models to local Hampton Roads middle and high school students.
Those interested in serving not only the Hampton area, but country can participate in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Since Army ROTC is an elective, students can participate in their freshman and sophomore years without any obligation to joining the Army. This program hosts several annual service events and various opportunities to volunteer.
The opportunities include placing reefs on gravesites during the Christmas holiday season alongside the Navy ROTC program. Also, cadets participate in serving food at nursing homes and socializing with veterans. Dre’Shawn Day is a cadet in the Army ROTC program with a great commitment to giving back to his community. “Service events like these are especially important because it shows leadership. We get to know what the veterans experienced and went through and how we should prepare ourselves after graduation,” said Day, a junior, business management major from Stafford, Virginia.
Researching organizations also helps when finding volunteer opportunities that align with one’s passions. The Student Government Association’s Women’s Caucus helps at domestic violence centers and focuses on women’s empowerment.
Another cause many care about is helping the environment. The Beta Chapter of Iota Phi Theta participate in the Adopt-A-Spot program to keep the community clean from waste and other forms of pollution.
Following current events can also help in finding community service work. Due to the contamination of water in Flint many organizations like the Midwest Pre-Alumni Council and the Gamma Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. are creating fundraising efforts to bring the people of Flint bottled water. The Gamma Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. are also collecting donations to provide Flint residents with clean water.
The opportunities to help the community are infinite. Acts like mentoring have the ability to greatly impact the lives of others. Volunteering by simply canvassing and getting people registered to vote could spark a revolution in the political system. The simplest community service and volunteer tasks can provide the possibilities of local, national, and global impact.