During the second semester of his freshman year, Scarf Boy was tasked with doing a service project along with his IOC class. Nokomis Child Care was the service organization assigned to his group. Hmm…. Donate an hour per week to play with perfectly adorable, underprivileged kids? Anyone who knew Scarf Boy knew that his invisible womb ached for children, so this should not have been difficult, right?
Not the case.
In fact, Scarf Boy dropped the ball on this service project, big time. He neglected to set up a time to volunteer, neglected to tell anyone at Nokomis that he was supposed to volunteer and neglected to tell his professor that he was not volunteering. Uh… whoops. Simply put, Scarf Boy made a huge (Noko)mistake. Thankfully, he was not the only one who had. His BFF, who we will call the Recruiter Penguin, had a similar problem. The Recruiter Penguin had also neglected to volunteer, neglected to contact her volunteer site and neglected to tell her professor. Conveniently, Scarf Boy and the Recruiter Penguin had the same professor and the same volunteer site.
This was a match made in procrastination heaven, also known as purgatory. The two came together to brainstorm what they could do to salvage their semester. They both liked music and they both liked not failing IOC, so the answer was clear; host a benefit concert for Nokomis.
The process was incredibly difficult, finding people to perform, creating publicity and advertising and reserving the space and equipment. Scarf Boy and the Recruiter Penguin were exhausted by the end but realized they had inadvertently stumbled upon something they never expected to find; actual service.
Plot twist: I am still Scarf Boy, the professor was the beautiful Dr. Stephanie Ahlfeldt and the Recruiter Penguin is none other than Carly Grandner. Carly earned her nickname because of her penguin-like run. She also has the ability to recruit people into whatever she is doing, even if it is a brand new experience for them. This skill has been used several times throughout her college life but was particularly useful during our event planning.
Let me be clear: I am not trying to sugar coat this experience. We messed up. Bad. Do not procrastinate on semester-long projects because it never works out in your favor. However, it would be irresponsible and against the mentality of BREW not to allow this mishap to become a learning experience.
Service never looks the same. The beauty of service is that it is diverse, it is subjective and it is meant to engage all parties involved. Service is not always going to take the form of one to two hours of volunteer work each week. It is not always going to take the form of a benefit concert. It will always take the form of the passion and heart that is poured into it. The message, then, is not to volunteer wherever it fits your schedule but rather to volunteer wherever it fits your heart.
For Moriah Nelson, the current Campus Service Commissioner, service grew near and dear to her heart early in her Concordia career. “I have gained confidence in my ability to lead, but that was only made possible by the fact that I was passionate about the organization,” Nelson said. Her entire heart went into her love of service, and she gained from the experience immensely. “Leadership is a gradual, continual process of personal growth,” she said. It is clear that the intention of service is twofold; it strives to facilitate positive change in a given community or organization, and it strives to evoke and inspire positive change in the individual who is serving. While Scarf Boy and the Recruiter Penguin may not have recognized it then, this experience changed the way they view service and changed the way they view themselves. Service changes the individual so they can change the world.
*Moriah’s term as Campus Service Commissioner is coming to an end, and the Elections and Credentials Council (ECC) within Student Government is looking for another CSC Commissioner. If you are someone with a dedication to service, head to the Concordia Student Government Association Facebook page and check out the job description/application. The application is due on Wednesday, October 23rd at 4:00pm. So go take a look! Your passion and drive may be exactly what CSC needs.
My name is Colin Sullivan and I am currently a senior at Concordia College majoring in Psychology, Sociology, and Spanish. Along with my classes, I am the co-President of the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA) and also participate in Student Government Association (SGA), Cobber Forensics (Speech and Debate), and Choir.
My passions reside within issues of social justice and critically analyzing the ways in which Concordia and society on the whole supports diversity initiatives. I long for an environment within which one’s minority status does not pre-determine their likelihood for success.
Some other random facts about me: I am a Pisces with an inability to digest gluten. I have a debilitating fear of clowns and public restrooms and refuse to ride bicycles. I am 100% Irish, a recovering scarf addict, and my speaking voice is as loud as the average yell.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @csulliva09 if you want to chat. I’d love to answer any questions you may have 🙂