More than 1,200 students are set to start off their time at Eastern with community service during Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E. Saturday, as a part of PROWL weekend.
Beth Gillespie, director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E. is the office’s biggest event of the year and is an “Eastern tradition.”
As part of the event, all new students, including transfers and international students, will participate in a service project of their choosing.
Check in will be from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Saturday with students getting on buses to leave to their service projects at 10 a.m. They will return by 2 p.m. and be provided with breakfast and lunch.
“Our campus is one that gives back. It cares about the community and wants to be involved,” Gillespie said. “What better way to say to new students that this is important to us than to have that be part of their first weekend here?”
Students participating will meet outside of the Doudna Fine Arts Center and be sent to 18 different projects, 17 of which are off campus.
“We want them to go and do something together, make new friends,” Gillespie said. “People are excited to come to EIU, they’re excited for their education. We want them to be able to do something together.”
One goal of Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E. is connecting new students to resources in the community and showing them fun activities to do.
“We want to connect them to local nonprofits that they can volunteer with,” Gillespie said. “It’s not just about going out and doing good together–there’s a method behind our madness behind why we picked the places we’re going.”
Each of the places volunteers will go to are places the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism will be partnering with throughout the year.
New volunteer opportunities for this Jumpstart 2 G.I.V.E. session include a mobile food pantry, which partners with the Charleston Food Pantry and Eastern Illinois Food Bank.
“We’re hoping to serve over 100 families at Morton Park on Saturday by doing that,” Gillespie said.
There will also be a backpack program, where Eastern volunteers will put school supplies in bags to give to local elementary school students.
Along with the new volunteer programs, old ones are also returning, such as making fleece blankets for One Stop Community Christmas.
“We hope to make 300 blankets on Saturday,” Gillespie said. “It’ll be a good start to the 1,500 we hope to have when Christmas rolls around.”
Volunteer opportunities for all students will be available beginning the first day of classes and will really start picking up after the first two weeks of school.
“Life is going to be hard for all of us at one point–we have to do good for other people,” Gillespie said.
Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]