Thursday, February 9, 2023

Survey: freshmen volunteering more than in past years

September 4, 2001

A recent survey showed the percentage of college freshmen who volunteer has steadily increased since 1990, and volunteer leaders say MSU has been no different.

The survey, which was conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, showed the percentage of freshmen who performed volunteer work in 2000 increased 15 percent since 1990.

Carlos Fuentes, assistant director at MSU’s Service-Learning Center, said he was not surprised by the results.

Although the number of students who volunteered for the center in 2000 did not increased from 1999, the center has seen a 10 percent growth every year since 1990.

The Service-Learning Center, located in the basement of Student Services, offers a wide range of opportunities for students who wish to volunteer.

“There are a lot of promising student volunteers all-over college campuses, with MSU among them,” Fuentes said. “The rise in freshmen student volunteers has been a result of the fact that a lot of elementary and high schools value volunteering.

“Once students graduate from high school and start college, they need to find an outlet for the volunteering they did in the past.”

Fuentes said students choose volunteer projects based on their own backgrounds and beliefs.

“Some people do it because their parents did it, some do it as a career booster, but the majority volunteer because it feels good,” he said.

Fuentes said there are more than 800 volunteer opportunities in the Lansing area. And at the Service-Learning Center, students can participate in 20 different nonprofit programs.

Among the most popular volunteering organizations provided by the center are Into the Streets and Alternative Spring Break.

Amy Rabe, a music education senior and chairwoman for Alternative Spring Break, said the program is a learning experience students would never get from a textbook.

“It’s an intense week that will help you explore who you are and learn something about yourself,” she said.

The student-led organization places students all over North and South America during spring break where they learn how to perform necessary services and explore the history of the area.

Rabe said it made her more anxious to do volunteer work.

“I think students participate in Alternative Spring Break because it’s really different,” she said. “Our goal for this program is to make students excited about doing more for their community once they leave.”

Amanda Woreman, co-chairwoman for Into the Streets, says the program’s mission is to introduce thoughtful community service into the MSU community and the greater Lansing area.

Woreman says the most gratifying aspect of this program is “seeing the expression on people’s faces when you change some part of their lives.”

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