Lumberjacks make a difference
Some of the best memories you’ll make in college might just be the times you realize you’re making a difference in the lives of others. And those moments become even more meaningful when you experience them with your friends and fellow students.
At SFA, service is one of our core values. That’s why we make it easy for you to connect with opportunities to help others, from the BIG Event — when thousands of Lumberjacks devote a day to service — to the innovative Alternative Breaks program.
Our service programs are continuously growing and improving, and they’re starting to rival some of the best in the nation. In fact, SFA is consistently on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which recognizes institutions nationwide for achieving measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.
Service and volunteer work
Whether you spend a day helping a local senior citizen with home repairs or you find a way to assist local veterans, your service makes a huge difference in the community. During the 2015-2016 academic year, SFA students reported 193,337 hours of community service.
Here are a few of the ways you can find volunteer opportunities.
The BIG Event
The BIG Event at SFA is all about promoting unity between campus and community. Every year, students come together for one day to express their gratitude to Nacogdoches through service.
In 2016, The BIG Event placed more than 1,400 student volunteers at more than 120 service sites throughout Nacogdoches County. Students can volunteer solo or register as a group.
And because The BIG Event is focused solely on saying "thank you,” projects for this event are not based on need or socioeconomic status. Anyone can apply for a project to be completed by our students. Projects usually involve painting, washing windows, cleaning, moving furniture and yard work, but all requests are considered.
MLK Day of Service
Not only will you join fellow students when you volunteer for this event, you’ll also be serving with college students around the nation.
During MLK Day of Service — a collaboration between our Office of Multicultural Affairs and our leadership and service programs — SFA joins universities across the country to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The program challenges students to participate with a critical question from Dr. King: “What are you doing to help others?” In response, hundreds of students have volunteered to help with elementary school landscaping and garden projects, donation pick-ups for food banks, house-painting projects with Habitat for Humanity and community beautification efforts.
Imagine combining Spring Break with meaningful community service. That’s the idea behind the Alternative Breaks program, which sends teams of students to communities across America to make a difference.
Each year, we keep our Alternative Break destination under wraps until the student team members are chosen. In past years, teams have gone to Oklahoma City, Memphis and New Orleans, among other cities.
No matter where you go, you’ll work with your group to plan a service project and participate in fundraising activities to help pay for travel arrangements and other trip costs.
SFA Dance Marathon
Yes, you can dance your heart out while helping others. This Sophomore Scholars program raises money for Christus Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Texas. Individual students can also create their own fundraising goals. Funds from the Dance Marathon pay for equipment and professionals needed to care for children with illnesses of all kinds.
Jacks Give Back
One of the easiest ways for you to connect with service opportunities is through SFA’s Jacks Give Back page, where you’ll find information about a variety of organizations, projects and service opportunities on campus and in the community. Each month, we post student service project opportunities. We also send service updates to all student organizations.
President’s Volunteer Service Awards
Depending on how many hours you serve, you also can receive the national President’s Volunteer Service Award for individual service. We recognize SFA students who receive this prestigious award with a certificate and pin during the annual Leadership & Service Awards banquet hosted by our leadership honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa.
To be recognized, you must complete more than 100 service hours in a 12-month period. Organizations can receive the award for completing more than 200 service hours during the same period. You’ll need to record your service hours to qualify.
How can I get involved?
First-year students looking to get involved should visit our First-Year Advising Center in the lobby of Steen Residence Hall. All students are welcome to visit our Involvement Center on the first floor of the Baker Pattillo Student Center. Both offices serve as nerve centers for student involvement on our campus, a staging location for volunteers during natural disasters, a distribution and receiving site for applications for any number of opportunities on campus and a place for involved students to meet, hang out and collaborate with other students.
Once you’re enrolled and ready to get involved, schedule an appointment to meet with a student engagement adviser.