Leadership LLC devoted to service despite remote volunteering challenges

Students in LEAD sent cards with encouraging words to elementary school students in the Waco community to start their year's service events. This year especially has been an unnerving period of concern for many due to challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo from Leadership LLC

By Julia Pearl | Reporter

Students across Baylor’s campus are called to serve, but that calling has become increasingly difficult to meet as the spread of COVID-19 becomes a larger concern. To combat this obstacle, Baylor’s Community Engagement and Service team has compiled a list of remote service opportunities for students.

Taking on their first distanced project this fall, the Leadership Living and Learning Center, one of Baylor’s volunteer-centered communities, started its year off by writing words of encouragement. The cards they wrote went to middle and elementary school students in the Waco community.

“We’re trying to go mostly remote, so that we don’t have to worry about the regulations, especially since they’re changing every day and week,” said Calif. Junior Justin Philip, LEAD Service Team Director, who plans the group’s volunteering events.

While LEAD students normally earn service hours through weekly commitments to an organization of their choosing, all of the service opportunities LEAD offers this year will be remote, much like the opportunities students can find on the CES website.

While transitioning to remote volunteering protects students and community members against COVID-19, there are areas in which remote service falls short, said Houston freshman Kaitlynn Rubio, a student in LEAD. Rubio felt that there was a disconnect compared to the in-person service she’s done previously.

“It’s very different because [with] in-person volunteering services, we usually meet new people, people who are volunteering for the same thing,” said Rubio. “This time I had to do it alone. It was fun, but I didn’t get to interact with anyone else or the people who I was volunteering for.”

While Rubio said that remote volunteer work does not have the same impact on the community or the person donating their time, Philip reflects fondly on LEAD’s first remote service event.

“I think it’s probably easier to do virtual in a way because it takes less commitment,” said Philip. “Some of [the remote service opportunities] you can plan on your own time, it’s not an event that you have to attend every week. You can cut down on the factors of having to find a way to get to the event. That way, it’s easier.”

For students outside of LEAD, this transition to online and distanced service can be an opportunity to get more involved in service.

“I think it’s still good to serve, even now,” said Philip. “People are still in need.”