Students donate 150,000 hours in service annually

Baylor students average 150,000 hours of volunteer and service work a year. Students find various service opportunities on their own and through on-campus organizations. Photo courtesy of Sarah Asinof

Isabel Hamburger | Contributor

As the year comes to close, Baylor students are looking back at their achievements on campus but also in Waco. In particular, the university estimates that students have donated more than 150,000 hours a year to volunteering and helping with local community service.

Milford, Ill., junior Monica Van Hoveln has spent almost every school day this year bouncing between the after-school program at Indian Springs Middle School, Freedom City Football Club, the ACE Program at G.W. Carver Middle School and the Waco Family Abuse Center.

“Helping other people makes you feel good about yourself,” Van Hoveln said. “It gives me an escape from everyday life.”

Van Hoveln volunteers four days a week and she said it is a good way to relieve college-life stress.

“Volunteering is really healing,” Van Hoveln said. “It’s a nice little two-hour bubble where I don’t have to worry about anything.”

For some students, involvement in the community helps them grow their Christian faith. Bedford sophomore Madeline Pettit volunteers at the Talitha Koum therapeutic nursery. The organization prepares children for education by equipping them with mental health tools such as compassion, emotional strength and problem solving.

“It’s a way that we can humbly show the love of Jesus to honor him,” Pettit said. “He calls us to use our gifts to glorify him and I think volunteering is a great way to show his love to others.”

While many students volunteer in the Waco community, there are also students who serve on campus. Shreveport, La., sophomore Jeremy Danzell is the service director in the Leadership Living-Learning Center in Allen Hall.

“Volunteering is an invaluable experience,” Danzell said. “Being able to commit time to people and groups that are underprivileged or may just need a helping hand is something that we can all appreciate.”

Danzell said he helps coordinate service events on and off campus. He said he also leads a team that helps students get involved within the Waco community, such as Hoops Huddles and the Waco Humane Society.

Volunteering doesn’t only help the less fortunate, but can help the volunteers as well. Studies done by the Mayo Clinic show that volunteering decreases the risk of depression, gives a sense of purpose, reduces stress levels and helps create relationships with new people.