CSLC sponsors overnight service trip

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Kristen Rupp (left), April Urbanowski (middle), and Eric Kurczewski (right)

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Kristen Rupp (left), April Urbanowski (middle), and Eric Kurczewski (right)

Natalie Lussier

Grand Valley State University’s Community Service Learning Center will sponsor an overnight service trip at the Blandford Nature Center this weekend. Students will work with the center on a variety of tasks including invasive species maintenance and snow removal.

Twice a year, the CSLC takes 24 student volunteers to the Grand Rapids area in an effort to make a difference in the community. The second trip will take place from Feb. 13-14.

Laura Murnen, graduate assistant for Service Initiatives in the Office of Student Life and coordinator for the event, said what makes it interesting is the 24-hour component. The overnight aspect of it allows the students to create a bond the night before serving.

“Friday night is all about bringing GVSU students together under a common interest of service and having them learn from one another,” Murnen said. “Every Friday night of an overnight service trip, we go over the foundation of service learning and try to do a small service project that night so that we are geared up for Saturday morning.”

Students will meet in the Student Organization Center, located on the lowest level of Kirkhof, at 4 p.m. on Friday and spend the night at the First United Methodist Church. They are expected to return between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“The purpose of the overnight service trip is to immerse students in the concept of service learning and spend a day assisting others,” said Danielle Tanner, CSLC service and leadership Intern. “Service learning is a vital part of volunteering, as it causes workers to stop and ponder the impact that they are having on the organization as well as the impact that the organization is having on them. This thoughtful process makes the service resounding.”

Tanner added that she volunteers frequently for organizations, but at many service trips, it is not possible to connect with other volunteers due to time restrictions. The opportunity to connect with other students, she said, makes the service more enjoyable and meaningful.

Since 2013, the CSLC has helped organizations such as Feeding America, YWCA, Rays of Hope and the Clark Retirement Community. Murnen said she tries to partner with different nonprofit organizations every time so that students who sign up can help with a variety of needs throughout their community.

Though the first service trip is booked, those interested in participating in the next overnight service trip or any future volunteer opportunities can visit www.
gvsu.edu/service/ for more information.

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