Just over 400 Goshen College students dropped their daily activities on Wednesday to volunteer for Celebrate Service Day. For the past 12 years, the entire campus has set aside a day of service in order to reach out to community organizations. Students sign up as dorm floors or campus housing groups and are paired with one or two faculty members, although some students volunteer independently or through a church.
Among the 25 work sites this year, 15 GC students helped to lower the rates of poverty by building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
Volunteers like GC students make it possible for Habitat for Humanity to provide safe and affordable housing to those in need.
The GC students' work at Habitat for Humanity impacted more than just one family on Wednesday. “[Building a house] acts as a stepping stone for families to get out of debt,” said Keith Gassman, a Habitat for Humanity representative.
According to Gassman, the importance of volunteering goes beyond constructing a house. Events like Celebrate Service Day “instill volunteerism in people at a young age,” said Gassman. This may lead to a lifestyle of service—one of GC’s core values, said Bill Born, vice president for student life.
“Not only does Celebrate Service Day coordinate learning and service, but it also introduces students to the Goshen Community,” Born said. In addition to Habitat for Humanity, students served at LaCasa Inc., of Goshen, taught children from Chamberlain Elementary School about music, set up for the Michiana Relief Sale at the Elkhart Country Fairgrounds and helped at Parkside Elementary School's library, among other locations.
Before dispersing into the community, students gathered in Schrock Plaza for breakfast, followed by a chapel entitled “Serving as an act of faith.”
CSD concluded with a picnic supper and a t-shirt quilt raffle. The quilt, made by Tamara Shantz, assistant campus pastor and apartments manager, showcased the past years' CSD shirts, representing the 12 year legacy of CSD. NAME HERE, year here, won the quilt, all proceeds going towards LaCasa, Inc., of Goshen.