By: Rangadevi Chakraborty
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) of- fice sponsors four days throughout the academic year when students have the opportunity to go to communities and volunteer at various locations. These days are 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance and Make a Difference Day in the fall semester and Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day and Global Youth Service Day in the spring semester.
The 9/11 Day of Service endeavors to engage students and faculty members in service to their communities. Whether it is the Atlanta Veterans Farmers Market, Stone Mountain Memorial Asso- ciation or the Special Equestrians, the organizations specifically request GPC students to help with their projects.
Last year’s event was such a great success that the QEP office has expanded its service opportunities, enabling more students to join.
By creating this connection with students, people remember the love and charity in communities during the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The spirit of rebuilding and helping one another prevailed throughout the U.S. at the time, but has slightly declined as the years passed.
Nevertheless, last year’s activities showed that another disaster like that does not need to happen to keep up the same spirit. Being aware of what is happening in the community is vital in maintaining a healthy, social atmosphere.
“Some communities don’t talk to each other, know what’s going on in their households and don’t like each other half the time,” said engineering student Ladarius Jackson. “Participating in a project like this would be an important bonding moment.”
The annual commemoration of 9/11 urges citizens to fulfill their responsibilities, to their country and their communities.
“Being a time-deprived student, if there would be less time consuming options, I’d be open to the idea of helping in my neighborhood,” said biology major Lidia Fekadu.
Santiago Hémenez, a chemistry major, notices that helping others does not only make them better off, you’ll also feel better about yourself. He thinks that in the future, extra credit would be a great incentive for students to come. Hémenez admits that many schools in the USA already implement this system, but as a required part of their curriculum. Keeping it optional retains the character desired by the QEP, where everyone who feels they have something to offer.
The Service Opportunities are at six different locations on Friday, Sept. 12: Atlanta Veterans Farmers Market, Mountain-View Personal Care Home, Stone Mountain Memorial Association, Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Dunwoody Nature Center and Senior Connections. On Saturday, Sept. 13 there will be an opportunity to serve at Special Equestrians.
“Intentional Service Days such as these expand our understanding by demonstrating that service is just one of the many ways we can give back to our communities,” said Engaged Learning Coordinator Mary Elizabeth Tyler-Boucebci. “Going to town-hall meetings, talking to local commissioner or even learning our neighbor’s names helps preserving that social capital.”
This week, an e-mail will be sent to the student body and the faculty members with links to the organizations and how you can submit applications.
Encouraging students to participate, Tyler-Boucebci said, “As humans, we are defined by the beauty we create from the ashes that are left us.”