50th anniversary service projects: 50 opportunities to serve

Grace AmsdenEditor-in-Chief

The No. 50 will hold significance for Pierce College as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In addition to the 50th anniversary events such as the Scholarship Scramble golf tournament, service projects will be held starting in the fall.

The goal is to have 50 service projects, Community Engagement Coordinator Becky Anderson said.

“Pierce College wants events to create an atmosphere where students not only give and experience the world outside of the classroom, but that they become active citizens,” Anderson said.

The first six of the 50 events will be considered the flagship events. These are sponsored by the Service Learning Department and will be heavily advertised, Anderson said.

Director of Library and Learning Resources Christie Flynn said these will provide the opportunity for staff and students to work together.

“We’re really saying anybody and everybody who’s associated with Pierce College, come one, come all,” Flynn said.  

The first flagship event during fall quarter will be a food drive between district faculty and staff. Collected food will be added into the Pierce College Puyallup and Pierce College Fort Steilacoom food pantries.

“People who are hungry don’t really learn as well – you don’t function as well,” Flynn said. “I think that’s an important awareness issue for the community, and it’s easy to get involved and start to make a difference.”    

Make a Difference Day will be the second event, also in fall quarter. A project will be held in the Tacoma-Puyallup area.

“You could clean someone’s yard,” Anderson said. “You could make food for the homeless, you could collect teddy bears. It’s not a specific type of event (for Make a Difference Day).”

The third flagship event in winter quarter will be a trip to the Emergency Food Network Inc. in Lakewood to repackage bulk items for food banks.

Also in winter quarter, the fourth event is Jan. 16 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This will be a volunteer service project.

“In the past, we’ve done work with youth, we’ve done work with the city of Lakewood and we’ve done some parks work,” Flynn said.

The fifth flagship event will be Park Appreciation Day in spring quarter. In the past, individuals have cleaned the playground at Fort Steilacoom Park, Anderson said.

“In the past, we’ve laid new wood chips and painted the playground,” Anderson said. “Also, we’ve done a bit of maintenance on the trails so that the park stays nice.”

One cleanup will be at Fort Steilacoom park, though there’s a possibility for a cleanup near the Puyallup campus such as at Bradley Lake Park, Flynn said.

The sixth flagship event will be The Habitat for Humanity Birthday Build held in Pierce County during spring quarter. Faculty, staff and students will contribute their work to a part of the house build.

Besides the six flagship projects, events will be held with community partners who work with the Pierce College community. The St. Leo’s Food Connection Backpack Project and Tacoma Rescue Mission are among the organizations who have worked with the college in the past. There’ll be a continuation of the community partnership, Anderson said.

“What I really like about my position is the ability to identify the need of the community partner and then have Pierce fill that need,” Anderson said.

Service projects will also be held by faculty in their classrooms. The project will be organized by the instructor for their students. About 40 faculty members across the Pierce College District conduct projects in their classroom already, Flynn said.

There could be more events  in addition to the 50, Flynn said.

“I think that there are faculty who probably do community service projects in their classes that may decide after we’ve already put our calendar together that they’d like to do this event,” Flynn said, “or a community partner comes to us with a need.”

For those who volunteer, the plan is for an incentive to be rewarded, most likely water bottles with the 50th anniversary logo, Flynn said. Hours will be tracked and individuals can earn it once they meet the set amount of hours, she said.

“We don’t know what the number (of hours) will be (to earn an incentive),” Flynn said. “I think we have to sit down this summer and say what’s realistic.”

But for anyone who attends a service learning project, they’ll be able to write their name on a paper hand cutout that’ll be taped onto a wall on campus (the specific spot is currently undecided), Flynn said. They might also write the activity they volunteered for and number of hours spent onto the hand.

This will begin for the first event in fall.  

“Over the year, you’ll be able to see that wall grow and see more people’s names as they’re involved,” Flynn said. “You’ll see faculty and staff and students names all along that wall.”

To view the upcoming service events and calendar, visit wp.pierce.ctc.edu/blog/servicelearning/. Once the events are listed, there’ll be an option for those interested to sign up for the projects, but not for the classroom service learning projects which aren’t open for everyone to participate in outside the class.

The first events will be posted in about late summer quarter, Flynn said.

“There’s a variety of projects,” Flynn said. “I think students will be able to find something that resonates with them.”

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Grace Amsden
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50th anniversary service projects: 50 opportunities to serve

by Grace Amsden time to read: 4 min