New students get a ‘Jumpstart’ on volunteering

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

Incoming freshmen and new transfer students will participate in Jumpstart on Saturday as part of the Prowl activities to acclimate new students to Eastern’s campus and the community.

The program offers incoming students the opportunity not only to get involved with the community, but to discover useful resources within that community.

Interim Director of Civic Engagement Beth Gillespie said the program involves sending more than 1,200 students to 22 different community partners to do service projects.

Gillespie said she and Crystal Brown, assistant director of Civic Engagement, are very intentional about where they assign students.

The goal of the program is to send the new students to mutually beneficial places such as the food pantry or the Charleston Lake trails so the students can become familiar with those community resources, according to Gillespie.

Jumpstart is a collaboration between the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism and New Student and Family Programs. The program often kick-starts further student involvement in volunteer programs according to Brown.

Without the Jumpstart program, many students would not know how to get involved with the community partners or that they were even there, Brown explained.

Gillespie said one of her favorite moments from past Jumpstart programs involved the making of fleece blankets for One Stop Community Christmas.

“In December when we were setting up for One Stop, one of the students who had made blankets was there helping us, and he stopped me and was like ‘Wait a minute. Are these the blankets that I made in August?’” Gillespie said. “Watching him close that loop was just very cool.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].