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SOS workshop discusses civic engagement

Posted on 09.25.2013
Graphic by Stephanie Kirkling

Graphic by Stephanie Kirkling

The University of  Indianapolis recently hosted a workshop to present information on an array of civic engagement opportunities that are available on campus. Stephanie Sachs, community outreach and student engagement coordinator, presented the Secrets of Success (SOS) workshop to interested students.
UIndy also hosted an Engagement Fair that brought together organizations such as the Indiana State Senate Internship program and Wheeler Mission Ministries to inform students about internships and volunteer opportunities.The SOS workshop focused on inspiring students to join the UIndy service community and informing them about how to get involved. Sachs also talked about the Professional Edge Center.
Sachs said that the center will combine Career Services,  Alumni Relations and the Community Programs Center and will be located in Stierwalt Alumni House. The center will help connect alumni and students for networking and professional development. Sachs hopes that this will benefit students in ways that were not available in the past and will allow students new opportunities for growth.
“We [English majors] didn’t have the same opportunities as some other majors on campus. When someone asked what you were going to be, you said … ‘Well, I’m going to be an English major,’” Sachs said. “But you’re only going to be an English major while you are here.”
Sachs said that the CPC will continue to connect students to resources and volunteer opportunities. She wants students to have service experiences that matter.
“Service is about changing lives—not only the lives of people you help—but you also help make society better by helping other people be better,” Sachs said. “Inevitably, I talk to students, and they say, ‘You know what really surprised me? It [the service] ended up changing my life.’”
Sachs outlined other ways that service can enrich students’  lives. The ways include networking, learning about social problems, gaining hands-on experience and helping to change lives. Another benefit is that students have the opportunity to record service hours from their time at UIndy on their transcripts. Sachs said that  it is never too late to fill out a blue form.
Director of Community Programs Marianna Foulkrod said that service experience can set students apart from the competition in the job market. Foulkrod elaborated on what service hours can show to potential employers.
“You can put your service hours on your transcript to show more than your 4.0 GPA,” Foulkrod said. “It shows that you have experiences that helped you build a character, to be the individual that you are today.”
Foulkrod said that civic engagement and community service can have both tangible and intangible impacts. Service allows students to help those in need and develops them into more well-rounded people, which Foulkrod said is important in a good liberal arts education.
“I know that food will feed the needy; I see young children who don’t have anywhere else to go with our students learning about having good health and staying out of trouble,” Foulkrod said. “… That is so fulfilling to me. It is what higher education is truly about—exposing students to an experience that helps shape them into good citizens.”



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