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Student Affairs Podcast — Episode 8: The Benefits of Giving Back

You can now listen to Episode 8 of “Conversations with Student Affairs,” the podcast managed by the Student Affairs team at Penn State World Campus in collaboration with our many colleagues and partners across the University’s Student Affairs teams.

Title: Living Your Words & Generosity

Participating staff member: Christina Reeves, graduate assistant at World Campus Student Affairs

Summary: Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be living your words and live out generosity? In this episode, Chris Reeves and I discuss leadership, service, and making the student experience impactful. What would it be like if you shared your gifts, talents, and skills through service and kindness?

Related resources:

Student Affairs: Days of Service — learn about service and volunteer initiatives for Penn Staters throughout the year.

Three interesting or helpful takeaways from this episode:

Community service is a core value demonstrated by the Penn State family. One example of that would be the University’s designated days of service, including the MLK Jr. Day of Service, which takes place each year as part of a nationwide initiative on Martin Luther King Day in January. Penn Staters participate in service activities in communities all over Pennsylvania. World Campus students have the opportunity to be involved locally in their communities, as well. Email us at studentaffairs@worldcampus.psu.edu and we can help you identify some of those opportunities. There will also be information shared on the World Campus student website as we get closer to the Day of Service in January.

There are many ways for students to contribute acts of service, which can be a valuable part of the student experience. Chris notes that there are plenty of opportunities, particularly in social services — things like tutoring, helping with initiatives that support the homeless, or serving food in a soup kitchen. But you can also consider ways to contribute your specific abilities. Chris says, “I would love for students to think about their gifts and talents and the skills they are learning during their education, and how they can use those to serve the community. For example, if you know how to build a website, right now we need more equity in small businesses, so by taking a few hours and building a basic website — or making a video or doing graphic design, creating content the business can share — you can help a small business be more competitive. Or if you are an artist, sharing that gift with other people who may be melancholy and need to be uplifted.”

Volunteering and service opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Adult learners are busy people, already juggling many roles and responsibilities. They often think there’s no room on their plates to add more. But acts of service don’t necessarily need to involve huge projects or long-term commitments. Chris cites Maya Angelou’s writing on the value of making a difference in someone’s day and the importance of small gestures. “When I was in college, I was asked to go to elementary schools and do spoken-word poetry workshops. Not only was that such a meaningful experience for me, the teachers, and the students, but it also helped me discover a passion I had — which in graduate school actually turned into a paying position.”

Catch up on all episodes:

“Conversations with Student Affairs” Podcasts

Other Recommended Resources: