This Wednesday marks the 13th year Goshen College students leave classes behind and head into the surrounding community to serve.
However, this year is the first year the college didn’t cancel all of Wednesday’s classes for the service day. Instead only first-year classes were canceled, so colloquium classes could serve.
The change comes as a result of previous Celebrate Service Days. Bill Born, vice president of student life, explains that the cut was done because of management issues.
“It was an issue of getting numbers and the issues with traveling to the organizations,” said Born. This change left a group of only 170 college students and about 15 faculty members working for service.
“We’d get around 40 organizations that would sign up to get volunteers,” Born said. “But then as we got volunteers we’d have to turn organizations down, and that just felt bad.”
Students had different reactions to these changes. Francisco Gallegos, a senior who participated in Celebrate Service Day as a first year. He felt older students should get the chance to serve as well.
“Students should be able to go if they still want to, but they should get excused absences from class.” said Gallegos.
Senior Jessica Reed, had similar feelings. She had the day off, but she “took advantage of it, and did a lot of homework.” Reed had participated in a previous Celebrate Service Day with her colloquium.
“The change this year is negative in the amount of help to the community, but if students were using it as a goof-off day then it’s a good change,” Reed said.
Reed felt that older students had a hard time getting signed up for service. “I felt like it wasn’t open enough for older students,” she said.
In the old system, students would sign up with departments and other professors, but the numbers weren’t high enough to continue the previous colloquium model.
Some older students did get a chance to join in on the celebrations. One such student was Grant Miller, a third-year with the college’s chamber choir. Every year, the chamber choir hosts Chamberlain elementary students at the college. They give them a college tour and perform for them in Sauder Hall. The kids also attend a presentation about why college and school are important.
“It’s fun, good times, and [they’re] good kids.” said Miller.
The new service day model is a change for the campus, one that continues to be adjusted. In the future, Celebrate Service Day might be similar or slightly different, but Born doesn’t know where it will go.
“It will be talked about, but it’s all part of the process,” he said.