“Volunteer work is important to me because it is a beneficial action for yourself and others and it allows you to connect to the area in which you reside. Volunteering can take many different forms, from volunteering at a soup kitchen, advocating for an issue, or cleaning up an old room to be used for a new purpose, each of which can provide you a new perspective on different populations and problems within your area. All service has an impact on the community around you.”
Emily Fenter '19 lives on the Public Service and Learning Floor in the Hinman community and is involved in numerous philanthropic clubs and organizations on and off campus such as; Circle K, Vestal Hills Elementary School, Family Enrichment Network, BU Acres and Community Meal at the United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton.
“I decided to live on the Public Service and Learning Floor in the Hinman community after connecting with the faculty master of the Hinman community, Al Vos. Immediately I felt a connection to the Hinman community and especially the learning community. Service has always been an important part of my life and I thought it would be a very rewarding experience to live on a floor with people who also shared my passion for public service. Living on this floor we must complete 15 hours of service each semester, take a class linked with a service component, and attend bi weekly meetings with guest speakers. Through this floor one of my favorite events was participating in a Poverty Simulation through the Poverty Awareness Coalition of the Southern Tier. It was a very eye opening and informative experience that I would not have had the opportunity to attend if it were not for my involvement through the Public Service and Learning floor.
One particular experience when I was volunteering at Vestal Hills Elementary School was especially rewarding. I work with five students for twenty minutes each week on exercises with them that emphasize certain skills involving grammar and reading. I was assigned these students because on their standardized test they scored lower in these areas than the rest of their class. I have now worked with them for seven weeks and looking back at where they started to where they are now I see improvement in their skills. It showed me that even just my little one on one time spent with these students does have an impact.
As secretary of Circle K for this upcoming service year, 2016-2017, I hope to help further our outreach to the local community. As Circle K pairs with the international service organization Kiwanis we work to contribute to many international campaigns such as project eliminate, which provides vaccines to mothers in Africa, and this year we focused largely on campaigns that donate to Breast Cancer research. In this upcoming year along with the new and continuous international campaigns our E-board will make sure our club stays involved in the local Binghamton community. One organization that I would like our club to connect with more regularly are the soup kitchens downtown that provide meals to those who can not afford to supply food for their family on their own. I have personally volunteered at the United Presbyterian Church’s community meal numerous times and would love for our club to engage in this organization but I also want us to explore other organizations that work with the homeless population in Binghamton in the upcoming semesters.
What I have learned from volunteering is that every little thing you do counts. You don’t have to be rich and donate a bunch of money to make a difference you just have to be willing to give up some of your time. Service has taught me to be a happy and thankful person. Whether it is donating a blanket to someone with scoliosis, providing a meal to someone who cannot obtain food on their own, or giving someone a high five and a compliment any little thing can make an impact on someone’s day.”