The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

5 Days of Service fosters civil engagement

GVL Ella McClintock

The Office of Student Life Civic Engagement (OSLCV) at Grand Valley State University held 5 Days of Service events to promote service and engagement across campus. (leave 5 as 5 because it’s the title of the event).

The week of March 18 was filled with events coordinated by the OSLCV in collaboration with GVSU graduate students who were to assist in facilitating the events. The week was full of events aimed to help promote civil engagement throughout the GVSU community. 

Sydney Gandolfi, a graduate student in the OSLCV contributed to a few of the events that ran throughout the week. Gandolfi helped support the Advocating for Animals project and the Nurturing Nature event. 

The Advocating for Animals event was devoted to repurposing old donated shirts and braiding them into dog toys to donate to the Humane Society of West Michigan. 

All the events during the week were intended to help students reflect on what civic engagement means to them. 

“(To me, civil engagement means) getting involved in your community and helping out when you can,” said first-year student and event attendee Olivia Milkey.  

Milkey attended both the Advocating for Animals event and the Cultivating Community: Meals on Wheels project later in the week. At the second event, attendees decorated paper lunch bags to brighten the days of those who receive meals from the organization. 

Senior Becca Galovich, president of the on-campus organization More Than a Meal, which helps to provide volunteers, donations and supplies to Meal on Wheels Western Michigan, heard about the service event and connected her club to promote it. 

“​​I reached out to the rest of my club and said that this would be a great opportunity to become more involved and help spread the word to other students,” Galovich said. 

Galovich got involved with More Than a Meal as a sophomore and enjoys attending service projects to get to know more people and organizations on campus. 

“(Service projects) make me feel really good and really happy that I can be giving back to the community and help others that are a little less fortunate than me or honestly just help out with everything and help others get involved,” Galovich said. 

Later in the week, the OSLCV hosted the Nurturing Nature event which Gandolfi helped to put on. Due to the weather and temperature, the campus clean-up was changed to an educational flower-planting event and the yoga portion was held in the fieldhouse. Attendees planted seeds in cups of soil to take home. The event aimed to help students learn about soil health.

“I’m a nerd about soil and the environment, talking about the importance of healthy soil and how it’s actually one of the leading things that can pull carbon out of the atmosphere,” Gandolfi said. 

The 5 Days of Service were hosted primarily in Kirkhof to be easily accessible to all students. OSLCV hoped keeping the events central to campus emphasized the importance of civic engagement on college campuses and provided easy opportunities to students.

Gandolfi hopes to pursue a career in university sustainability which aligns with the events she planned for the program. Gandolfi said she is passionate about civic engagement and service. 

“(Civic engagement) is about people wanting to make a difference in their community, not feeling obligated. Wanting to because it makes you feel good, it makes everybody feel good helping people,” Gandolfi said.

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