Sat. May 25th, 2024

Photo credits: Evan Brooks

A sizable part of my life is dedicated towards helping others; from being a tutor so I can be a part of others academic success, to my role as community service senator within the Student Government Association of WCUPA. I believe service to others is a great way to find purpose and grow as an individual. Service to others means more than just dedicating some of your time though, and is beyond beneficial for all involved.

The idea of service, in my mind, is contributing your time, knowledge or money to a cause other than yourself. I personally recommend opting for donating your time, not only because of the personal touch, but because donating your time allows you to connect with the act of service a bit more. An example of connecting with others through service would be Habitat for Humanity’s build days, where you can help build a home for a family. You will not only connect with the other volunteers and professionals around to help, but may also get to meet the family you are helping, and see the impact you are able to make. WCUPA has a chapter of Habitat for Humanity you could join today, should the build days sound interesting to you.

I suggest looking for something you are passionate about, or even look around your community and see what sparks your interest. Start within the university if you can, as there are a variety of service centered organizations you can join. Maybe you feel you are already in enough organizations though, then create a service project your organization can do. The idea is: the distance between you and service is very short.

Getting involved is not limited to one field, from health services to cleaning up your local community, giving back is broad in both definition and actionable steps. I highly recommend you check out the following list by the Center for Civic Engagement and Social Impact (CCESI),an office at West Chester University (WCU). For more information regarding service, the CCESI is also a great place to start. If you are a part of an organization, they can partner with the office, and take part in their programs and utilize their partnerships.

I believe service learning is a great tool for students and faculty alike to utilize, so why not ask your professor to do a service-learning project in place of an essay? The Honors College at WCU highlights community engagement and service, and actively works to implement a service project into most sections — or at least the sections I have taken.

My ask is for you to seek out more opportunities to give back and uplift others. Uplifting others can be as simple as engaging in a conversation with someone else, recognizing their humanity and building a connection with them. The sheer act of listening to another individual, hearing what they have to say and acknowledging what they said is uplifting enough alone.

For a while, I was a docent and general volunteer at Pearl S. Buck International (PSBI).During my time volunteering at PSBI I mostly gave tours, but I also helped with a couple of events. The tours I gave encompassed what was the house of Pearl S. Buck, who was a Pulitzer Prize winning author and winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Each time I gave a tour, even though I elaborated on mostly the same pieces of information, the individuals on the tour constantly gave me new perspectives. I remember on one tour, as we were moving down a flight of stairs from one room to another, an older gentleman stopped on the landing, pointed at a painting and told me information I had not previously known about its meaning.

If I had not been a docent at Pearl S. Buck International, I would have never had moments like the one with the painting. Lifting others up and service is essentially about moments, particularly the moments we spend with one another.

Evan Brooks is a fourth-year Business Management major with minors in Economics and Civic and Professional Leadership

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