EDITORIAL: Make a Difference Week reminder to help those around us

Editorial Cartoon 10.5

Herald Staff

THE ISSUE: Though there are dozens of ways to give back, too many students (and faculty or staff) live idly and don’t engage in enough community service.

OUR STANCE: We’re all fortunate in some way; therefore, we should all give back. If we don’t, we aren’t contributing to the growth and betterment of society.

With National Make a Difference Week beginning Thursday, the Herald wants to encourage all of you to get involved. Sponsored by the Student Activities office, the week features a myriad of ways to volunteer or give to those in need.

Some of the events include a Soles4Souls shoe drive, SGA Campus Clean-up, caregiver packets for AIDS victims and Up ‘til Dawn letter writing (for a full list, contact [email protected] or call 745-2048).

If you haven’t gotten involved in volunteering as soon as you planned, we challenge you to use Make a Difference Week as a starting point. And though the week will end, your service doesn’t have to.

There are several outlets for community service on or close to campus, including the WKU ALIVE Center, WKU Habitat for Humanity and the Rotaract Club. Such organizations can guide you to volunteer opportunities based on your interests. Greek organizations and other student groups also invite the student body to participate in their community service projects.

Once you’ve become familiar with the campus organizations, venture out into the city of Bowling Green. After all, if you’re going to be spending four (or five, or seven) years as a student here, you should be an active citizen of the city. Don’t limit yourself to campus.

Local churches, public schools and charities, such as the Boys and Girls Club, often solicit volunteers to help with their community events. But don’t wait to be asked; assign yourself.

Instead of catching a nap between classes, spend 30 minutes at lunch with an elementary school student who needs a mentor. Instead of throwing away your old wardrobe, bag it up and drop it off at Goodwill or Hope Harbor. And instead of complaining about how cramped your dorm is, think about those who are homeless, then go to the Salvation Army, and help prepare and serve them dinner.

But don’t think that giving back has to be an intricate operation. Making a difference can happen even with the smallest acts.

Hold the door open for people behind you, especially if they have a handful. Pick up the trash your classmates leave behind after class. Help a friend study if you are strong in a subject they struggle with. Smile and speak to passersby.

Making a difference is easy. It doesn’t always take a grand donation or hours on end. Just remember happiness and generosity, and spread it as you go along.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.