“There’s a good variety this year,” said Center for Civic Engagement Director Stephanie Stokamer about Pacific’s annual Day of Service.
According to Stokamer, that variety was thanks to student feedback about the event in years past.
About 30 percent of the surveys that were sent out to last year’s Day of Service participants were returned to the Center for Civic Engagement. Stokamer said that number was more than expected.
“Most people had a really positive experience,” Stokamer said. But most respondents had suggestions to make the volunteer work more accessible and fitting to the Pacific community.
Firstly, participants were looking for more ways to spend their service hours than working in a gardening atmosphere.
The Center for Civic Engagement responded to that request so that this year, Stokamer said there was no longer “too strong an emphasis on plants.” New service projects on the list are a SOLV beach cleanup, the Oregon Food Bank, working on craft projects and helping the senior citizen community.
Other respondents were concerned about whether they would be able to take part in the event at all due to time constraints. Stokamer said to accommodate more groups, the projects will now be spread throughout the day, ranging in start times between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. To make sure all are acknowledged and included, a barbeque will be held at the end of the day rather than having a kickoff in the morning.
With more than 20 projects available this year, Stokamer said she is excited about the new opportunities people will have with different groups in the community.
For example, one project will include creating inspirational material for an alternative school in Forest Grove, giving students the chance to reach out to a younger crowd.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a wheelchair wash will be held to help the senior community of Forest Grove. This particular project, Stokamer said, “tickles [her] heart.”
And for those new to the Pacific Northwest, Stokamer said the beach cleanup will be the perfect opportunity to be immersed into “an Oregon tradition.”
With project variety no longer being a concern this year, Stokamer said she will spend the remaining time encouraging the Pacific community to get involved with the Day of Service.
“I am not concerned about too little,” said Stokamer. “Just the right amount.”
Stokamer said the majority of the projects are within walking distance of the campus and if not, participants are provided transportation.
Students and campus organizations interested in volunteering for this year’s Day of Service on September 28 should keep an eye on their emails for the opportunity to sign up or email Stephanie Stokamer for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.