Ewing, NJ – On Saturday, April 22nd, 30 students from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)’s Service Council participated in a Day of Service at Hollowbrook Community Center in Ewing Township.
Despite intermittent showers, the volunteers cleaned, weeded, and mulched the grounds of the soon to be re-opened property, which houses the Mercer County Library’s Hollowbrook branch, Head Start Program, and a local daycare, among other programs. The community center has been closed since May 2016 due to asbestos remediation that is now nearing completion.
Working alongside Ewing Township’s Department of Community Affairs and the Ewing Park-Brae Burn Civic Association, volunteers represented several organizations including Chi Upsilon Sigma, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Theta Phi Alpha, and the Residence Hall Association.
Caitlyn McNair, an active member of Kappa Delta, spoke on the gratification of the experience: “I love doing beautification projects. Seeing an area that it full of weeds and garbage and seeing it progress throughout the time working there until seeing the end result is very rewarding. It is one of the few types of service where you can actually see the direct impact you have.”
The service day marked the last event of the newly initiated “Service Council,” a campus-wide group that brings together representatives from service-oriented student organizations, including sororities and fraternities. The Service Council was formed by TCNJ’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, through funding provided by the TCNJ Office of Engagement’s Mini Grant Program.
Dominic Clark, Co-Chair of the Service Council and President of the rising Junior Class Council, explained that “The objectives of the Service Council [include] providing a platform for all student organizations to come together and collaborate on service efforts and initiatives” Clark emphasized that this initiative “is extremely important and something that this campus has been lacking.”
Leading up to the Day of Service, representatives from over 40 diverse fraternities, sororities, and student organizations on campus participated in workshops on creating sustainable partnerships with local non-profit organizations, networking with other organizations, and facilitating reflections for volunteers.
“So many organizations at TCNJ do service based activities on their own that there needs to be a place for information sharing and service quality development,” Clark said. “Bringing organizations together creates a unique space for facilitated service discussion that will increase the impact of their service in the surrounding communities.”
With the spring semester coming to an end, the council’s leadership is now developing plans for the next academic year, with goal of the group to be sustainable for years to come. For more information on the Service Council, please contact email@example.com.