Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012 - (Page 40)

one step ahead serving the Community beyond the quad When i arrived at Yale last fall, i knew i wanted to get involved in one of the many student-run community service programs. i had been involved in girl scouting since kindergarten, so community service had always been an important part of my life. at Yale, i began with a “freshman day of service” in september and spent a few hours clearing brush from a local park. since then, i have helped with chores at an animal shelter, planted a tree in an urban neighborhood, and helped people who are unemployed craft résumés. my friends have taught health education in city schools, worked for local political campaigns, and coordinated campus-wide fundraisers for programs to benefit the homeless. Between social justice groups, educational initiatives, and public health projects, there are dozens of options for students wishing to serve the community. one friday afternoon, i helped a friend pick up leftover food from dining halls and deliver it to a nearby soup kitchen as part of Kitchen to Kitchen, a program of the Yale hunger and homelessness action Project. By January i was volunteering regularly. there is always plenty to do: YhhaP is one of Yale’s largest community service groups, with 120 students running a variety of projects working to eliminate hunger and homelessness. While direct service is a big part of our work, we also run fundraisers, educational programs, and advocacy campaigns. for me, YhhaP is a way that i can give back to the city—new haven—that i now call home. Whether a college is located in a traditional college town or a big city, it can be easy for its students to forget that a community exists beyond their dorms and libraries. a campus is often its own “bubble,” and students may, consciously or unconsciously, stay within it. When i made my college choice, friends and family warned me that they’d heard that new haven had a by Julia Calagiovanni Julia (center) makes sandwiches for a soup kitchen with fellow YHHAP volunteers. reputation for being dangerous. While the problems it faces—unemployment, a lack of affordable housing, a struggling school system—are large, they aren’t insurmountable. Working with the people who face these challenges helps us to uncover the root problems, understand the issues better, and realize why it’s so important to work for change. if my peers and i can give some of our time to tutor children or help people with their job searches, we can make the city we call home a better place. We can, and we should. as university students, we’re incredibly privileged. everyone comes to college with different life experiences, but most of us can’t begin to understand what it’s like to be homeless or attend a school that doesn’t provide basic health education. sharing our time and talents is the least we can do to give back to the wider community. Community service projects in college may be very different from those you’ve worked on in the past. most groups are student-run, which gives members valuable experience in running an organization. there are more ways to effect change; in addition to direct service, students may participate in advocacy work or conduct community education campaigns. furthermore, students who perform community service in college seem less motivated by the potential résumé boost than by the opportunity to make a real impact. there are, of course, practical considerations to keep in mind. With so many extracurricular opportunities— writing for publications, playing in musical groups, joining a club or six—students might not think that they can find time to participate in a community service group. if a large commitment won’t fit into your school-year schedule, you can sign up for a one-time task or take a summer internship with a nonprofit organization. if you’d rather not volunteer alone, bring your sports team or singing group along. if you discover a need in your community that isn’t being met, consider starting your own project. getting involved in community service has been one of the best parts of my time at Yale so far. i’ve learned that if you want to change the world, you have to start by looking beyond the quad. Julia Calagiovanni is a sophomore at yale University, where she plans to major in English. in addition to her work with yhhAP, she writes for a variety of campus publications. she also enjoys exploring new haven and volunteering at the yale Farm. 40 imagine sept/oct 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012
Big Picture
In My Own Words
The Proper Care and Feeding of the Teenage Brain
Building Brain Power Through the International Brain Bee
CTY Neuroscience
Same and Different
Braingate: Turning Thoughts Into Action
Shedding Light on Schizophrenia
Unraveling the Mysteries of Memory
Through the Looking Glass
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Fencing Lessons
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012