One way to get more students, faculty and staff involved in your community service efforts is to create a MONTH OF SERVICE on your campus. It’s a great way to focus every one on getting involved for a short period of time, but one that is long enough and has enough variety for everyone to get a chance to chip in. The best part is that many of the volunteers during the month will continue to support your efforts even after the month is over.
Here are four quick and easy to implement ideas that will help jump start a great community service project on your campus.
1) Designate a theme for each week of the month. For example, one week could focus on children, the next could be the elderly, then a week on the environment and green initiatives, and the final week could be dedicated to a specific cause or global concern such as Relay for Life (cancer research) or world hunger.
2) Pick one day of the month, possibly a Saturday or other day when there are no classes, for a Day of Service. Encourage the entire college or university community to participate in a variety of activities and projects, both on campus and off. Consider this a “Service Plunge” in which your school dives in with a huge number of volunteers having an impact throughout the community, town, or city where your campus is located.
3) Take advantage of some things already occurring. For example you could attach your efforts to national holidays, monthly observances and local celebrations. Perhaps you could conduct a canned food drive for the local Food Bank around these observances. Food banks tend to get a great amount of donations in November and December, but they need donations all year long. Earth day is celebrated every April. This is a global celebration and effort to take better care of the environment, educate the public about green initiatives and opportunities, and do proactive service such as river clean-ups.
4) Tie your efforts into orientation, preparations for finals, graduation, homecoming, spring break other events on your campus. Conduct a “Service is Best to Relieve Stress” campaign near and set-up “drive-by” service tables in a high traffic area on campus. These are projects that take very little time and are ready-made (or turn-key) for the students. Held at a central location on campus, participants don’t have to worry about transportation, materials, or anything. They just have to provide their hands, their heart, and perhaps a little creativity depending on the projects you have set up. Boo-boo bunnies; cards of encouragement for children, the military, or the elderly; and simple crafts can engage students who might not otherwise being doing service.
If you’re looking for more ways to get your campus involved in community service I recommend you check out APCA Serves. It’s a program I’ve initiated with the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities to do just that. I brought this concept to APCA Executive Director Eric Lambert and he’s has designated me National Director of the program. Now at each of APCA conferences we get students involved in service and show them ways to take it back to their campus.
APCA Serves a great natural extension of my program Building Leaders Through Service® – Day of Service and helps feed my lifelong passion for community service. Check out the video below of me in my college days (Yes. That handsome, young guy is me!) donating $50,000 to the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on behalf of Circle K International. Let me know how I can help your school make a similar impact on those in need in your community.
In this video I represented Circle K International as a college student and donated $50,000 to the Jerry Lewis Telethon. This was my second appearance on the MDA telethon on behalf of Circle K International. Serving as Circle K International President while a full-time college student at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh was the culmination of my student leadership journey. I truly believe we can change the world by serving others.