By Thaina Olson
Trevor Annis, assistant director of the Volunteer Involvement Program at Weber State University, said he has had many little moments while serving that have helped him realize there is a need for volunteers in the community.
“I’ve always made service a part of my life,” Annis said in a phone interview.
He said that even if people are only donating a little time per week, it can indeed make a difference to someone else’s life.
“If we have been blessed with more than what we need,” Annis said, “it is our responsibility to return that excess to those who are in need.”
Last Thursday, many students came together to serve during the annual Adrian Maxson Day of Service hosted by WSU’s Community Involvement Center. Current WSU students, alumni and youth from the community participated in various projects to beautify the Ogden Nature Center for this event.
In an e-mail interview, Brenda Kowalewski, the director of the CIC, said the CIC “helps WSU fulfill its mission to teach students not only how to make a living, but a socially responsible life.”
Since its inception in June 2007, the CIC has helped students collectively log more than 618,000 hours of service. One of those students is Kelsey Langston. This year, she is serving as the co-director for a program at WSU called Best Buddies.
In a phone interview, Langston explained that Best Buddies pairs university students with people from the community with disabilities.
“When I came to Weber from Snow College, I found out about this great program and I fell in love with it,” Langston said. “I love the people I work with.”
Langston said she invites all students to learn more by coming to the information meeting for the program on Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building. No experience is required.
According to Annis, some programs are always in need of volunteers, such as the Special Olympics program and the Boys and Girls Club.He said he also urges students to participate in the Blood Battle this week, an annual blood drive hosted by WSU.
The drive will take place Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms. Annis said there will be prizes for participants, such as gift cards to iFly, Golds Gym and Chick-fil-A.
Students can also participate in Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27. This is a national day of service and WSU will be hosting a variety of service projects for students to get involved.
Whether they are serving on their own, planning to do service hours or enrolled in community-based learning courses, students are encouraged to register with the CIC and log their service hours. Kowalewski said logging hours is beneficial for students, especially those applying for jobs or graduate programs.
According to Kowalewski, service hours look great on resumes and “students can request letters of verification of their service to the community from the center.”
Students can also receive scholarships, funding for service projects, and awards such as the Excellence in Service recognition. One way students can receive scholarships for their service is through the AmeriCorps program.
“AmeriCorps is essentially the domestic Peace Corps without making a full-time commitment or going overseas,” Kowalewski said.
The program will award education vouchers of up to $2,775 to students who log 300-900 service hours in one calendar year. These vouchers can be used for expenses such as paying off student loans, tuition, textbooks, or even computers to use for school.
Students interested in AmeriCorps must complete an application and attend one training session per year. Training sessions will be available Sept. 11-13.
The CIC provides a full list of service opportunities online at www.weber.edu/CommunityInvolvement. Students can also send text messages saying “CIC” to 469-570-2390 to get updates on their phones about upcoming events.
The CIC is located on the third floor of the Shepherd Union Building in Room 327. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.