Campus / Community / News / September 28, 2017

Kleine Center connects students to community

Students learn about farming in and around Galesburg as part of the Fall Day of Service through the Kleine Center for Community Service. The Day was themed ‘Explore and Engage.’ (Photo courtesy of Madison Pierro)

The Kleine Center for Community Service’s Fall Term Day of Service had student out in the community exploring local farms, helping at Praire Player’s Theater and learning about other opportunities to give their time to Galesburg.

According to junior Eli Adams, a student worker in the Center, the fall Day of Service always has the same focus.

“We get a bunch of community partners and on campus organizations to offer opportunities to volunteer and learn how to volunteer,” Adams said.

This year the Day of Service featured two big changes, said Post-Bacc with the Office of Student Development Tevin Liao, who directed the event this year. First, the event was moved to Sept. 17, the first Saturday of the term, rather than the Saturday returning students move in. Second, the sign-up was digital, rather than relying on tabling in Seymour during dining hours.

“Overall, everything went really well,” Liao said. “We didn’t have any giant snafus, the digital sign-up actually did allow for more people to become involved because they could see the actual presence of it.”

The Kleine Center has a Day of Service each term. AmeriCorps VISTA Madison Pierro ‘17 explained that the Winter and Spring Term Days of Service have different themes. Student feedback from surveys each term helps inform which partners the Center works with.

Major partners this year include the Galesburg Youth Athletic Club, the Galesburg Public Library, the YMCA, Galesburg elementary schools and Bright Futures Preschool.

“Really, our whole goal is just to increase and strengthen our relationship to Galesburg and open up students to the community, rather than just kind of staying on campus,” Pierro said.

When they are not planning Days of Service, the Center’s staff coordinates long-term and short-term volunteering opportunities. This term, the long-term opportunities will start on Oct. 2. They provide more consistency with the activities, as opposed to the usually one-time-only short-term events.

“If you know you have to get a certain amount of hours in a term, it’s nice to know you can commit to something and be, ‘Every Wednesday I’m going to go from 2 to 3 [p.m.],’” Pierro said.

However, the Center remains flexible and Pierro emphasized that they are always happy to have students approach them with new ideas and opportunities. They also listen to student and community feedback to make wider changes each year.

“We change our partnerships each year depending on which community partners need help and what types of volunteer services are available on their ends,” student worker junior Jyotsna Seesala said.

The freshman class has also provided new potential that Adams is especially excited about.

“I’m excited to see all the freshmen who seem to really have integrated volunteering into what they’re doing at Knox academically and what they hope to do as a career,” Adams said.

Connor Wood, Editor-in-Chief
Connor Wood is a senior with a double major in English Literature and Environmental Studies. He started as a volunteer writer and then staff writer his freshman year and was a news editor his sophomore and junior years. He has also worked as a communications intern for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and as an intern with Unified News Group, both in the Madison, WI, suburbs.

Tags:  community engagement community service Galesburg Kleine Center Kleine Center for Community Service volunteering

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