Fall into Action with Meaningful Acts of Service

Fall into Action with Meaningful Acts of Service

WKU ALIVE Center promotes student involvement through volunteerism

BOWLING GREEN, KY- The WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships is offering an opportunity for students to get more involved in there community through meaningful acts of service that provide monthly volunteer opportunities.

The WKU ALIVE Center launched their first fall semester meaningful act of service with Project Grow, as an opportunity for students to volunteer in the community garden located at the Office of Sustainability.

“I had a wonderful time volunteering at the Office of Sustainability, getting to know about a resource I didn’t know much about. I have learned that even the smallest person can make an impact, and together we can do it all,” Arieal Smith a WKU first year student from Glasgow said.

According to Resource Conservation Coordinator, Elizabeth McGrew, each volunteer was engaged and interested in learning and helping. The food produced in the garden is free to WKU students, staff, and faculty members in need of assistance.

“These experiences of coming together, connecting, and learning is exactly what we want Project Grow and the Community Garden to provide,” McGrew said.

After volunteering, students participated in a reflection that gave them an opportunity to think through their service. Students reflected on ways to further impact the community, and why their service mattered.

The next meaningful service opportunity students can look forward to will be the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome, which recognizes Down Syndrome Awareness month. The Buddy Walk is a one-mile walk beginning at 9:00AM on October 24th, 2015 at the Hot Rods Stadium in Bowling Green.

Volunteers are needed to help assist with games, activities, setting up before the walk begins, and clean up. Anyone can contact the Buddy House to volunteer for the event. WKU students, who wish to join the group volunteering for Meaningful Acts of Service, can register at http://bit.ly/maswku.

For the November Meaningful Acts of Service project, students will volunteer with the Parker Bennett Community Center. On November 3rd, volunteers will assist youth with homework.

After volunteering five hours or participating in any Meaningful Acts of Service event students will receive a free t-shirt (while supplies last). Liberty Imaging sponsored the t-shirts that volunteers receive this fall. The Center is also looking for sponsors to help with transportation and project supplies during this year. Anyone interested in sponsoring projects can contact the office at 270-782-0082.

The WKU ALIVE CCP connects students, faculty, staff, and community members to resources and opportunities for meaningful service and public scholarship. The ALIVE CCP supports community development locally and abroad through campus and community partnerships.

Raising Volunteerism Awareness One Student at a Time

Raising Volunteerism Awareness One Student at a Time

WKU ALIVE Center and Student Activities Partner for Project Affect

BOWLING GREEN, KY – On Wednesday, September 9 from 10:30-2:30 P.M. the WKU ALIVE Center For Community Partnerships and the Student Activities; Leadership & Volunteerism Office will host Project Affect- an event to help students get involved on campus and in the community.

With approximately 600 participants and 39 student and community organizations in last year’s Project Affect, both the WKU ALIVE CCP and Leadership and Volunteerism Office look forward to another great turnout this year. Several organizations that participated in last year’s Project Affect will be returning, including the Parker Bennett Community Center.

“As the Project Coordinator for Parker Bennett, I not only look forward to working with the different students, but allowing others the opportunity to get involved.”

Parker Bennett is part of the city of Bowling Greens Park and Recreation Department. The PBCC afterschool program has 97 youth enrolled and caters to 85 daily, making student involvement through service a constant need.

“One of the volunteers I met came by immediately after Project Affect, and we actually were able to hire her for the summer. So, that was really great too, because in the beginning she was just volunteering throughout the school year,” Sabrina Johnson said.

Project Affect will be held at WKU’s Centennial Mall again this year. There are nearly 40 organizations expected to participate in the event. Students can look forward to different activities and projects created by the organizations. Free food and t-shirts will be given to those interested in the various booths while supplies last. Organizations wanting a booth and those interested in volunteering to help make the day a success can visit the website at https://www.wku.edu/alive/ or call 270-782-0082. The last day to register a booth for Project Affect will be September 2.

Project Affect is co-sponsored by the WKU Campus Activities Board and WKU Recreation and Administration. The WKU ALIVE CCP and Leadership and Volunteerism Office are thankful for contributions from the Corvette Museum and Bowling Green Hot Rods.

The ALIVE CCP connects students, faculty, staff, and community members to resources and opportunities for meaningful service and public scholarship, and the Office of Leadership & Volunteerism provides students with a variety of programs to choose from in an effort to promote involvement among the student body at Western Kentucky University.

Bonner Leaders begin again this fall

The Bonner Leader Program is in its third year at WKU. Continuing the program’s mission to provide access education and an opportunity to serve, seven new freshman students have been added to the group. The Bonner Leader Program has grown and now includes a total of twelve students; each student is actively serving with a local nonprofit organization. The program’s sophomore students are Daniel Banks, Rachael Williams, Kurtis Spears, Erin Evans, and Grace Gilliland. Daniel Banks is from Frankfort, KY and is currently serving with Habitat for Humanity. Erin Evans is from Louisville, KY and is in her second year as the Family Literacy Coordinator at Bowling Green Independent School’s Family Literacy Program. Rachel Williams is from Hartford, KY and is the Volunteer Recreation Assistant at Parker Bennett Community Center’s after school program. Kurtis Spears is from Burkesville, KY and is in his second year of serving as a Den Counselor at Center for Courageous Kids. Grace Gilliland is from Dickson, TN and is the Development Assistant for Light of Chance; however, Grace is currently studying abroad in France.

The Freshman Bonner Leaders have been placed with primary partners and have begun their service journey. LaDeirdre Mumford and Martajia Armstrong are both from Hopkinsville, KY and are both serving as Group Leaders at Community Education’s afterschool program at Warren Elementary. Kennady Galofaro is from Poquoson, VA and is the Youth Development Professional at the Boys and Girls Club. Emily Burchfield is from Suwanee, GA and is currently doing her service work at VSA where she assists special needs populations with art. Jennifer Willis is from Glasgow, KY, and her service site is Light of Chance. Brittany Copeland is from Pewee Valley, KY and is beginning her service at Bowling Green Independent School’s Family Literacy Program. Meagan Coomer is from Columbia, KY and is the Development Assistant at South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block.

Each Bonner Leader will serve a minimum of 300 hours this academic year, and they follow a 4 year developmental model. This developmental model motivates the Bonner Leaders to obtain experiences that will ultimately set them apart from other job seeking peers post graduation. Some of the leadership positions available to the Bonner Leaders are Bonner Congress Representatives, Fellowship Coordinator, Public Relations Chairs, Judicial Committee member, and Issue Based Service Leaders.

Written by Sarah Hagan

Nonprofit organizations partner for Big Red’s Blitz day of service

Bowling Green, KY – The WKU ALIVE Center and Housing and Residence Life are encouraging students and community organizations to “Do Something Big!” this summer by participating in Big Red’s Blitz on August 22nd. Twenty-eight nonprofit organizations and campus departments will serve as project sites for this day of service by offering first year students the opportunity to get an early start serving in the community.

Big Red’s Blitz takes place during M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan (Making Academic and Social Transitions Educationally Rewarding), and participants provide up to four hours of service during the event–starting shortly after 10:00am. Volunteers are sent out into the community in small groups to complete various service projects. Partnering organizations also take this opportunity to educate students on their services and ways they can get more involved while at WKU.

More than 300 students have signed up to volunteer for Big Red’s Blitz. Students will volunteer at organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Lost River Cave, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Food Abides WKU Food Pantry, Hope House, and much more. For more information about Big Red’s Blitz, contact Aurelia Spaulding at 270-782-0082 or Blair Silliman at 270-745-5863.

Big Red’s Blitz has been a partnership event between Housing & Residence Life and the ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships since 2004. The ALIVE Center serves as the primary contact for partners and projects.

Edwards enjoys life by serving others

Student Spotlight: Jeffry Edwards

Written by: LaVella Hall

“I just enjoy it. I always say, ‘If I’m not enjoying it, why am I doing it?’” said Jeffry Edwards. The “it” Edwards speaks of is volunteering to help others. As a recipient of a gold President’s Volunteer Service Award, Edwards is a dedicated volunteer. He has been volunteering for Habitat for Humanity for over a year, starting in January 2011 at the Winter Collegiate Challenge.  He became a part of the organization with the help of Associate Professor Dr. Bryan Reaka.

On his first trip with Habitat for Humanity, Edwards learned a lot about basic home building skills and enjoyed the physical challenge. He also noted how good it felt to do good in the community. “You could really see the appreciation homeowner’s had for the volunteers willingly working on their home,” Edwards said. The trip had such an impact that Edwards continued volunteering and interned over the summer of 2012 with the Morehead State University chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Edwards enjoys a lot of different hobbies. Not only is he vice president of WKU’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, he is also co-president of American Institute of Architecture Students, president of the Ultimate Frisbee Club, president of the National Association of Home Builders, and is a section leader for alto saxophones in Western Kentucky University’s marching band.

Edwards strongly believes you should be passionate about everything you do in life. When it comes to volunteering, Edwards believes you should volunteer not out of requirement or because it fulfills a course credit. You should volunteer not because you are forced but because you love it and you love helping people.

National Volunteer Week offers ways to get involved April 22-26th

WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships and WKU Leadership and Volunteerism encourage campus and community members to Keep Calm and Serve during National Volunteer Week activities April 22-26, 2013. According to research from the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, volunteering has a number of health-related benefits, and the two WKU offices want participants in the week’s activities to understand how getting involved on campus and in the community can benefit oneself as well as others.


The activities during National Volunteer Week will encourage participation in a variety of capacities to address a number of issues. On-campus activities include the CANstruct for a Cause and WKU Yard Sale which address local food access and Style a Senior which provides a way to benefit seniors through companionship activities. CANstruct for a Cause collections will be donated to the American Red Cross, The Food Abides: WKU Food Pantry, and HOTEL INC.  The WKU Yard Sale proceeds will benefit Backpacks for Feeding, a feeding program for youth in need. During Style a Senior participants will learn about ways to volunteer with senior programs in the area as well as make scarves for participants in Community Action Senior Centers.


WKU senior Jazmin Walker from Henderson, KY has volunteered with senior communities in the local area and with youth programs in his hometown. He believes having opportunities like National Volunteer Week help individuals know how they can make a difference: “People need events like this to provide awareness of issues in the community because often times we overlook things not affecting us, but we need to help others. Events like National Volunteer Week offer many different ways for students to get involved and give back.”


In addition to the on-campus activities, individuals can also volunteer at opportunities throughout the community such as Greenways, Humane Society, Salvation Army, Housing Authority of Bowling Green, and Parker Bennett Community Center. Anyone interested in volunteering at the community service events, should contact the ALIVE Center at 270-782-0082 or Leadership & Volunteerism at 270-745-4434 to sign up to volunteer.


According to research from the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, volunteering has a number of benefits. “Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer,” the report provides.


In order to highlight all of the service activities of students, faculty, and staff throughout the year, Snapshots of Service will be accepted until April 17th at noon and voted on at the on-campus activities during National Volunteer Week. Anyone wanting to donate nonperishable items, t-shirts, or yard sale items can drop off the items until April 17th.  Details about the photo contest and drop-off locations can be found at www.wku.edu/volunteerweek. The ALIVE Center and Leadership & Volunteerism want to encourage campus and community members to take part by volunteering with the project during the week.

WKU offers new scholarship through Bonner program for students

Bowling Green, Ky – Last fall, Western Kentucky University started the inaugural class of Bonner Leadership Scholars, a cohort of service-minded students in a scholarship program coordinated by the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships.

“I really look forward to working at HOTEL INC each day. They have so many interesting projects ahead of them and I stay excited about the opportunity to be involved with them,” said Joanna Williams, a Bonner Leadership Scholar and WKU junior from Clarksville, TN. Bonner Leadership Scholars complete 10 hours of community service, professional development and personal enrichment activities each week in exchange for their tuition scholarship.

Being able to offer a Bonner scholarship for service work is something new for Western Kentucky University, but it is common to many campuses.  The Bonner Program began in 1990 at Berea College to help people in financial need.  Mr. Bertram and Mrs. Corella Bonner believed in the importance of education and sought to find a way to connect a college or university to the surrounding community. Over 80 colleges and university manage Bonner programs now.

“We are very excited to participate in the Bonner Leadership Scholar program and support our students’ leadership development through scholarship support.  We are confident that over time such partnerships with the national Bonner Foundation will continue to grow, allowing WKU students across the Commonwealth the opportunity to access higher education while experiencing meaningful service learning,” said Dr. Brian Meredith, Vice President of Enrollment Management at WKU.


This first class is comprised of four students. These students are Jillian Weston from Indianapolis, Joanna Williams, LeLand Cantrell from Bowling Green, and Mernisa Hrustanovic  from Bowling Green. Applications are now being accepted for the 2013-2014 academic year. Any high school student with an interest in service and planning to attend WKU should apply by May 1st. The application is available online at www.wku.edu/alive.  For more information, contact Lee Calvert at the ALIVE Center by calling 270-782-0082.

CANstruct for a Cause assists in raising awareness for food access issues

Bowling Green, KY—“Food access isn’t a privilege. It’s a human right,” said Brittany Ryan, Community Outreach Coordinator for Local Food for Everyone (a USDA Farmers’ Market Promotion Program grant). Taking the time to donate food could provide meals for many families in the community. On April 23, 2013 from 3:00-6:00pm, students and community members will have the opportunity to donate food by participating in CANstruct for a Cause, a fun and educational event to collect canned goods for local food banks.

“Food access is a huge issue that needs increased awareness in Bowling Green and Warren County because everything is spaced out, especially in rural areas where it is hard for residents to access food,” said Ryan, who has been active in the community promoting local food  needs.

According to statistics, 33.7% of Warren County residents fell below the poverty level in 2009 and state-wide 23.6% of residents fell below this line. “With poverty being so high in Warren County alone, one out of four children suffers from hunger,” said Rhondell Miller, HOTEL INC director.

Participants can help increase food access awareness by signing up to participate in CANstruct for a Cause. After collecting the food, participants will build structures representative of their group.  Structures will be on display until judged at 5:00pm. Then, participants will be recognized with awards. During the event, there will be fun activities for campus and community members to learn more about food issues in the area and participate in reflection components.  Food will be donated to the American Red Cross, HOTEL INC, and WKU Food Abides.

Sarah Arnold, WKU food pantry coordinator, said, “CANstruct for a Cause will be a fun event not only because it will challenge participants but it will also increase awareness of food needs.”

CANstruct for the Cause will be open to the general public. Campus and community groups interested in participating should contact the WKU ALIVE Center by emailing alivebg@wku.edu. For additional information, please visit http://www.wku.edu/alive or call 270-782-0082. CANstruct for a Cause is part of National Volunteer Week activities coordinated by the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships and WKU Leadership & Volunteerism.

Alex’s Lemonade Stands at WKU

"Alex's Lemonade Stand"

"Alex's Lemonade Stand"

On Monday, April 23rd, 11:00AM-2:00PM, several campus organizations took part in working at five “Alex’s Lemonade Stands” on campus which kicked off WKU’s National Volunteer Week. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a national philanthropy, which raises money for pediatric cancer research. It emerged from the idea of a four-year-old patient, Alex, who set up a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money for the cause. All proceeds benefit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which grants money to physicians for pediatric cancer research.

Emily Borgmeier, a marketing intern at the WKU ALIVE Center, coordinated the event. Organizations that participated include: Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Tau Omega, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Phi Mu, and Sigma Kappa. Volunteers worked for one hour or more selling lemonade and generating pediatric cancer awareness. A cup of lemonade did not have a specific price, however, all donations were accepted. Donation containers stated, “No matter the amount, every penny counts!” The event was extremely successful by raising $91.17 with an original goal of $50.

are you ALIVE?

Are you ALIVE banner

Are you ALIVE banner

By: Leah Baird

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This statement by Mahatma Gandhi was the emphasis behind the ALIVE Center’s Are You Alive?” awareness week. WKU students seemed to find meaning in this statement through creating Valentine’s Day cards for children, creating “I Pledge” videos, and signing up for different volunteer activities throughout the year. It was a week full of activities that sparked interest throughout the student body by showing them ways to participate in public service.

The Random Acts of Service project was the highlight of the week for many of the students. On Valentine’s Day, the ALIVE Center had a booth set up in DUC so students could stop and create a valentine for the children at Jones-Jaggers Elementary School. A variety of valentines were made and students were excited to be able to put smiles on the faces of many children. After the valentines were made, a group of students went to hand deliver them to the students. The children’s faces lit up and it was obvious that they felt special from these handmade cards. I personally felt warmth from these students, and I think it made my day as much as it did theirs. Participating in this event made me believe even more in the quote by Mahatma. I felt alive by helping others. I felt alive by seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. I felt alive by something so simple that brought so much joy to others.

This event was just the start of things to come this year. The ALIVE Center wants to spark a movement that brings happiness to others and enriches the community.  “Are you ALIVE?” awareness week was the perfect start to help maintain these ideas. This year will be filled with service and making the community a better place.