Students Show That They go to a ‘College with a Conscience’

As mentioned in last week’s Cynic, UVM was named ‘College with a Conscience’ in Princeton Review’s new book featuring 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement. It was picked out of 900 institutions in large part because of its plethora of academic and co-curricular programs that provide many opportunities for community involvement. One of the most highly participated in community involvement events is Community Works organized by the department of Student Life, led by Assistant Director for Community Service programs Lecretia Johnson. Community Works is an annual spring event that brings together over 100 people who come to serve the community through various service projects as either an individual or as part of one of the various organizations that participate in the program. The program began bright and early at 9:30 this Saturday (April 16)and after a very late night, I walked into Billings thinking that this was the last place I wanted to be. I was thinking what could we possibly do in half a day that would have any lasting benefit to the community. Basically, I was hung-over/exhausted like the majority of the other volunteers and I just wantedto go back to bed. The free breakfast, however, began raising the energy level in the room and as more happy helpers strolled in. At ten, the kick-off speaker showered us with inspirational stories and left us with the message that “one person can make a difference.” Right, and in only a short time spanning from 10:30am-1:00pm. My particular organization broke up into to groups going to two different service projects. My group went to the Schoolhouse out on Dorset road and the other went to work on graffiti removal in downtown Burlington. The Schoolhouse was actually a really cool “Montessori-esque” school that has been running for just over 25 years. It had been held in a number of different buildings and bounced around the city until finally it was donated land out in South Burlington. The new school features open classrooms and is almost completely run and kept by the parents and their volunteered time. My group was there to help the school with a spring-cleaning day. It didn’t really seem like a big deal to us, or that we were doing a great amount of work- but to the parents and the school, shoveling and raking rocks to fix their driveway after a rough winter was just the greatest. I mean, we raked some rocks for a few hours and just that small act of service saved the school a lot of time and money. The point that I’m trying to make does seem really cheesy, but it is one that is so true and so overlooked. One person, or one group of people can do a lot of good with just a few hours of their time. I hope that more UVM kids get out there as the weather continuously gets nicer and just do something for the community to keep showing that we’re a college with a conscience.