Despite schedules that include academic courses, work obligations, and family responsibilities, I am continually impressed by students at Purdue Calumet who reach out to members of their community.
For example, last September, students, faculty and staff joined together to respond to area residents who suffered loss and damage as a result of heavy rain and subsequent flooding. Members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams worked with fourth and fifth grade students in a reading and writing program at local elementary schools. Groups of international students visited Lafayette Elementary to share information about their home countries. Residents of University Village volunteered to rake leaves in the yards of homes surrounding the Village. And last November, the Saturday School celebrated its first anniversary. Open to students between the ages of 7 and 18 years of age, Purdue Calumet students offer tutoring and instruction in reading, writing, math, social studies and life skills.
This March, thirty Purdue University Calumet students and nine faculty and staff site leaders participated in the inaugural Spring Break-thru program. With sites in Hammond, Indiana; Forks of the Wabash in Huntington, Indiana; and Houston, Texas, these individuals abandoned their traditional spring break plans in favor of reaching out to communities in need.
Volunteers frequently return to campus feeling as though they receive more than they give. They report a great sense of satisfaction, increased awareness of and sensitivity to others, and an increased commitment to their community.
Opportunities to engage in service learning projects at Purdue University continue to grow. Please encourage your students to participate! Experiences such as these provide us all with opportunities to evaluate our own values and priorities.