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September 20, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-20

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 20, 1991 -- Page;

by Laura DePompolo
Daily Staff Reporter

letsgie hik tkvugh voltiteeism

Steadfast and determined, a
young woman stands in the middle
of the Diag on a chilly Saturday
morning, a gleaming silver bucket in
her hand. She waits for the single
twinge of metal on metal to become
the chime and jingle of a proud goal.
The scene may seem silly to the
average student
who has barely
*enough time to
make it through a
tough semester at
the University.
But according to
Anita Bohn, di-
rector of SERVE,
a volunteer orga-
nization at the
University, an es-
*timated 4,000 to
5,000 people cam-
pus-wide volun-
teer each year.
But what is it
that motivates
these students to
volunteer their.
time and patience
to the needy?
And, once moti-
* vated, where do
wth ey go to be-
come a volun-
Popular belief
has it that people
grant their time,
knowledge and
patience for the
benefit of those
who have a par-
ticular physical,
mental or eco-
nomic disadvantage.
While many student volunteers
share this belief, others look beyond
the needs of those they help to the
personal rewards that volunteering
can bring into their own lives. Some
say this allows them to utilize the
motivation it creates to their own
advantage and to the advantage of
the person they are helping.
Karrie Garcia, a sophomore in the
Sigma Kappa Sorority, explained
that people constantly draw a sense
of satisfaction from doing things
for themselves. But she added that
people experience a different, some-
times deeper, satisfaction from
helping people with special needs.
"We do so iuch for ourselves,"
she said. "When you volunteer, it
gives you a really good feeling be-
cause you are doing something for
someone else."
Currently, Garcia participates in
volunteer programs through her
sorority. She explained that many
fraternities and sororities name a
philanthropic organization to which
they pledge donations. Sigma
Kappa's philanthropy is the Na-
tional Alzheimer's Society. Last
year, Sigma Kappa members sold
lollypops to raise money for the
fund, Garcia said.
She added that her sorority also helps out in the
community. Last winter, during the Persian Gulf crisis,
Sigma Kappa assisted a community organization by
passing out flags to local businesses. It also sponsored
a bumper sticker sale.
Fraternities and sororities are an important part of
the volunteer world. With time, people, and money, the
Greek system is a major contributor to both local
community volunteer groups and to national fundrais-
ing organizations.
But many students pass blindly by the fraternity
and sorority volunteers stationed in the center of the
Diag. Some passersby - consumed in the mad panic of
rushing to a class that started 15 minutes earlier or

maybe because they are so accustomed to the sight -
simply do not pay attention to the eager volunteers.
However, it is more difficult not to pay attention
during Greek Week, an extended competition designed
to raise funds for charitable organizations. Mary Beth
Seiler, the Panhellenic Association advisor, said that
fraternities and sororities raised an estimated $50,000
during last year's Greek Week.
Many of the Greek houses on campus use the ser-
vices of Project SERVE to arrange contacts with vol-
unteer organizations in the community.
Bohn, director of Project SERVE, said there are
about 150 volunteer organizations in the Ann Arbor
area that are in need of either individual or group assis-
tance. Such contacts include Ann Arbor schools, adult
care centers, centers for abuse and chemical dependency,
and many branches of the judicial system such as courts
and jails.
Debra Gotz, philanthropy chair for Alpha Omicron
Pi Sorority, said sisters from her house visited Mott's
Children's Hospital during the Christmas season last
year to entertain patients who were unable to go home
for the holidays.
"It's a really good feeling when you help people,
not necessarily by donating money, but by spending
time with the person," Gotz said.

ment for students interested in vol-
unteer work.
Like many students, Gotz was
looking for a fun and fulfilling
class when she enrolled in Psychol-
ogy 121 - the Big Sister course.
"I thought it would be a fun ex-
perience for me and for the child,"
Gotz said. "I thought it would be a
learning experience."
Many Univer-
sity students take
advantage of the
"learning experi-
ence" that volun-
teering has to of-
fer and utilize it
as their motiva-

"When I do
u, something I usu-
ally want it to
come back to
me," said Lance
Porigow, a junior
concentrating in
psychology and
business and a
group leader for
Project Out
a ~ reach's course,
"One to One, a
Big Brother
Project Out-
reach and Project
Community, a
similar organiza-
tion that is run
through thessoci-
ology depart-
ment, offer vol-
unteer courses in
health, education,
and criminal jus-
tice. Students get a chance to work
with many different volunteer or-
ganizations throughout Ann Arbor
and Washtenaw County.
Jeff Howard, director of Project
Community, said no students will
be turned down unless the classes
are closed due to space limitations.
However, he added that the commu-
nity contact holds the right to dis-
miss someone if it finds a problem
with the student. Howard said the
program has received an extremely
small number of rejections from
community sponsors.
But Project Community is not
just a volunteer program devoted to
helping the needy, Howard said.
"Students come away knowing
that there is another way to learn
besides assuming a passive role in
the classroom," he said. "They par-
ticipate in active learning, learning
that you can take with you."
Jerry Miller, the faculty coordi-
nator for Project Outreach, recom-
mends the courses for students
thinking about future careers in any
of the areas covered.
"It's a great compliment to in-
class learning," he said.
"Many students go into it think-
ing that they are going to help
someone else, but they really end up
helping themselves," said Peter Brown, a former big
brother for Project Outreach.
But these volunteers say they aren't just looking for
an easy way to get experience or to enhance a resume
that needs some help. And such reasoning would never
make a good volunteer, they explain.
Evan Young, a member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO),
a co-ed volunteer service fraternity on campus, does not
believe that volunteering should be used only to en-
hance a resume.
"I knew it would look good," said Young, who
once volunteered at the University Hospital. "But if I
just wanted to look good I would have taken a class."
APO, which celebrated its 50th year of service at
the University in 1990, is another outlet for interested
student volunteers. Anyone willing to volunteer 20
hours per week and attend weekly chapter meetings can
join the fraternity.
"I think volunteering is wonderful," Young said.
"It gives people a larger perspective. So many people
out there are just concerned with grades. Volunteering
lets people know that there is a larger world out
LSA sophomore Jeanette Hilgert, an active APO
member, said she joined the organization because vol-
unteer social service is essential. She explained that
there are too many service jobs in the community that
aren't filled by regular workers.
The fact that so many important social service jobs
remain vacant is an ongoing problem in society - one
that makes volunteering special to many students here

and across the country. No matter what his or her mo-
tivation, each student volunteer knows there are people
out there who need the help of a volunteer to bring
something special into their lives, people who need to
know there is someone who cares.
And it is this feeling of compassion for other peo-
ple that draws the student volunteers from their
warm, cozy beds early in the morning on a chilly, driz-
zly Saturday to go looking for the gleaming silver

find a
home at
Seth Persky is pretty much an
average University student. He is
a senior psychology major who
often wonders whether he'll have
to stay longer than four years to
finish his degree. A native of
Orchard Lake - an upper-middle
class suburb of Detroit - Seth
says his
was typical. Stephen
Carbone is Henderson
average, too.
She, like
Seth, is a
senior .'..
major, andI
may have to'
stay an extraI
semester or
two. Her hometown is Ortonville,
a small, middle-class town about
30 miles northwest of Detroit.
And she, too, thinks her formative
years were typical.
But Laura Brown, a training
and volunteer coordinator at
Ozone House, says that without
Seth, Kellie and up to 40 other
"typical" students like them, the
teen crisis-intervention center
would be crippled.
After spending half a day at
Ozone, I would have to agree.
''The students make up about
three-quarters of our volunteer
staff, and they do most of the
work," Brown said. "I don't think
we could provide the services we
do now without them."
And if Ozone House were to
stop providing the services it
does, the more than 750
Washtenaw County teens who go
there every year after running
away, or being "thrown away"
from home, might not get the help
they so desperately need.
Ozone was created in 1969,
and began as a temporary shelter
for teens who had left home to
make it on their own. Back then,
the volunteers at Ozone helped
get runaways where they wanted
to go - often New York City or
Today, by contrast, the first
priority at Ozone is getting
homeless teens back home.
Runaway youths from all over
Washtenaw County come to
Ozone for help. And volunteers
now act primarily as mediators for
teens and their parents, trying to
strike a compromise between the
parents' demands and the adoles-
cents' desires.
The volunteers endure 52
hours of training and must
commit to working for six months
before actually dealing with
clients at Ozone. They work at
least one four-hour shift per week,
answering phones and dealing
with new clients, and spend up to
six more hours doing face-to-face
counseling with the teens and

their parents.
That can be a tough and tiring
job, especially when the volun-
teers have to confront home
situations that are far from ideal,
as they often do. But Seth and
Kellie told me the successes
they've had and the camaraderie
the volunteers have developed
make the work worthwhile.
"This is the real thing here,"
Seth said. "We're dealing with
people's lives. And when you see
the difference you can make,
however small, it makes you feel
And because the volunteers
always work in pairs, Seth and
Kellie told me, they cultivate
working relationships they don't
find elsewhere. At Ozone, they
said, you're never alone.
And the most striking thing
about Ozone is that the vast
majority of the volunteers are
students. "Typical" students like
you and me, but students who
also feel the need to do more than
grapple with the academic and
social pressures of University life.
Are they activists? Yes.
As much as students who rally
for Palestinian self-determination
or who demand that abortion be
outlawed, these students work to
better the world as they see it.
But they do it without the
hoopla, fanfare and high media

Top, Amy Fielek, a Business School junior, plays at Pound House, a day
care center. Above, Helena Wang, an LSA sophomore, volunteers at the
hospital. Below, members of a service fraternity paint a sign for rush.

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