Volume 74, Issue 4
September 27, 2002

Student groups come together to serve community, world

Rick Docksai

In addition to annual community service day Into the Streets, students at Washington College will have numerous opportunities throughout the semester to help others.

SGA Plans

The Student Government Assembly Service Council and Student Government Assembly Service Chairs have planned for the next few months several events and fundraisers that have never before been seen on campus, in addition to other events and fundraisers that have beenregular occurrences on campus for many years.

"Into the Streets is just the initial start," said SGA Chairs representative Minety Abrahams, "in allowing students to get out into the community, and to realize that there's life and opportunity to help outside of campus. But we're striving to make sure that we have more off-campus opportunities."

A variety of service clubs from on and off campus come together for the first time.

Amin Barnes, Student Director for the Center for Service Learning, helped introduce some of these off-campus opportunities at Club Fair this past week, where for the first time ever organizations off campus were given booths with which to advertise next to booths for on-campus clubs and organizations.

The organizations present included the Upper Shore Community Health Center, the American Red Cross, the Kent County Library, Kent and Queen Anne Hospital, women in Need, the Judy Center, and the Community Resource Center. "It is important," Barnes said, "that we go beyond the WC boundaries in order to serve the community and to fosterrelationships within the community."

Reaching out to the community

Barnes said that the WC service committees are putting extra emphasis this year on reaching out to the Chestertown community and working with local residents, particularly in light of recent incidents such as the party-turned-riot of September 6.

Need for improved community relations, some say

Some WC students and faculty have suggested that the riot and other incidents of violence off campus demonstrate breakdowns in WC-community relations, and a need for improved communications between WC and residents of Chestertown.

"I think," said Barnes, "that by working with these outside groups, it will help people to realize that they should not be afraid. It will also help them to realize that they as students are part of the Chestertown community as well, and not just part of the Washington College community."

New fundraiser proposed

Also new this year is a proposed fundraiser by Nicole Moore, Secretary of Service Learning, for the Ronald Mcdonald House, a nonprofit organizationthat administers to the families of seriously ill children. Moore's plan is to place boxes in all the dormitories that students can fill with donations of office supplies, canned goods, toiletries, and other items.

The boxes will most likely be set up in the next two or three months, and will remain in the dorms year round.

"I really think that they are an organization that needs help," said Moore, "and it's just another good way to reach out to the community."

Familiar events will be held again this year

In addition to these newer events, WC will host several events more familiar to the WC community. One of these events is the annual AIDS Walk,scheduled for October 5, in which participants take pledges to walk inWashington, DC in order to rasie money for AIDS research and education.

Another event, also held every year, is Hunger and Homelessness Week, in which students as well as locals will be invited to attend discussions andprograms on homelessness and poverty, and ways of combating it.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies, a campus group that works with mentally challenged youth throughout the Chestertown area, will be holding a regular semester-long mentoring program. Participants will be teamed up inidividually with ayouth and agree to meet with the youth at least twice a month. In addition, the group as a whole will get together once a month for a group activity, such as bowling or spending an evening at WC's own student center.

Hands Out plans several events

Hands Out, another campus group, will be hosting a number of annual activities to aid the poor in the community.

First, this Halloween is the Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods, in which participants will go through neighborhoods and knock on doors asking for donations of canned goodsinstead of candy.

Second is the Help the Homeless Walkathon, which raises money for Washington DC homeless shelters and is a part of the WC SGA sponsored Hunger & Homelessness Week. In December,

Hands Out will have Adopt a Family for Christmas, where participants purchase presents for WC staff members children or grandchildren. Also planned for December they will be making Holiday cards for the residents of Magnolia Hall and Kent County Hospice.

Recycling

The Student Environmental Alliance has already begun its annual recycling program. Participants monitor bins, one of which is on every dorm floor, and drop them off at the curbs once a week for pickup.

Anti-litter campaign

In addition, the SEA has an Anti-Litter Campaign in clubs, organizations, and students adopt a plot of land on the WAC campus and become responsible for keeping it free of litter and promoting the use of trash cans andrecycling bins.

FORCE plans camping, service

Furthering Outreach in the Community and Environment, a campus groups that hosts outdoor maintenance projects of environmental sites, has several outing planned. They include projects at Tuckahoe and Martinak StateParks, Pickering Creek, and Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. In addition,

FORCE may hold a camping trip later in the semester which would entail both trail repair work and recreational camping.

Mark Wiest, one of the main organizers of FORCE. put it this way:

""For me personally, FORCE is a great way to get out and do things that help the environment and community, beyond things like recycling and picking up trash which we can all do everyday, and at the same time have a really good time with people. It feels good to go out andfeel like you are making a difference even if it is just in a small state park on the Eastern Shore. Even simple things can really help and make you feel good."