April 18, 2012
Last week, the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC) held its first annual Service Awareness Week based on the slogan “Burst the Bubble!” A variety of events and activities happened on campus to promote the importance of community outreach and to expose students to the different community service opportunities offered at Hamilton. E-mails were sent out to the student body encouraging people to get involved in different ways throughout the week. Participants volunteered at sites such as Johnson Park Center, United Cerebral Policy and Lutheran Home. Still others took part in deeds as simple and fun as playing soccer or basketball with local children. The week’s efforts culminated on Saturday, April 14 during the HAVOC Spring Fest.
On Dunham Green, student clubs and outreach organizations gathered together to advertise themselves and to raise awareness about community service opportunities on campus. Clinton families were invited to join in the festivities and local children were delighted at the games, face-painting and food offered. Clubs and sports teams set up booths with different activities, and SASA even made homemade chai tea for the event. Samantha Schwartz ’13, who is on HAVOC’s e-board, thought that the week was successful in bringing the Hamilton community together and for the fact that “it also connected the College to Clinton and its residents.”
Danielle Lashley ‘13, director of HAVOC this year, stated that the event had a dual purpose. “It was meant to promote outreach but also to advertise student clubs and get more people involved,” she said.
One club that used a clever tactic to get people’s attention was Active Minds, the new awareness group that centers on creating conversations about mental health. Their booth included bubble wrap, which people could pop for fun and to decrease their stress. Three acapella groups also performed, which drew in a larger crowd, and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Last year, HAVOC sent out a survey to the student body asking what students felt would help get more people involved in community service on campus. An overwhelming number of students replied that their lack of involvement was not due to a lack of interest; rather, they were unaware of the ways in which they could get involved. So a large goal of Service Awareness Week this year was to fix this issue by clearly exhibiting the numerous outreach clubs and activities that students can join.
Many students’ reactions to the week confirmed its success. Julie Dursema ’15 thinks the week was effective: “I always wanted to do community service, but I didn’t really know how to get involved. This week helped me to learn more about the opportunities that Hamilton offers to help others.” Similarly, Liz Dabrama ’15 was impressed by the number of people that showed up to the Spring Fest.
“Coming in a freshman, I felt a little isolated on the Hill,” she said. But this seemed like a great way to connect the College to the Clinton community.” Overall, the week turned out to be a success,and hopefully, its impact will be felt as the year comes to a close and we move toward a new semester.