This year I have served on my scholar program’s leadership council as service chair alongside my peers including my co-chair, Anna Gardner. When originally applying for the position I was expecting the role to entail coordinating with community agencies to host group volunteer experiences as has been done in past years. I was eager to connect students with the people and places of my hometown. So much of the Ohio State experience is spent within the University District, and I was eager to encourage students to get out into other Columbus neighborhoods. However, when entering the role our world was still effectively shut down. In-person events have been suspended for most of the year and many organizations have had to shut their door to volunteers for the safety of their beneficiaries. Anna and I have had to adapt to bring service-learning opportunities to our fellow scholars. We utilized virtual tools to provide accessible educational experiences.
During my tenure on council, I planned and hosted 5 virtual service learning events including a 3-part lecture series centered on ethical and self-aware service and philanthropy, implemented a program-wide event planning procedure to improve event attendee experience and increase fidelity to program mission/pillars, and developed a marketing plan in response to reduced volunteer opportunities caused by the pandemic.
My lecture series, Being a Better Servant: Understanding Your Impact as a Volunteer and Donor, aimed to strengthen scholars’ understanding of how to best serve their community through introspection of their own lived experiences and values. Presentation objectives were created based on program pillars of social change, community, service, and advocacy. Topics of the series included Paternalism in Service: Who Knows Best?, How Charity Can Hinder Social Justice, and Effective Altruism. Below is an event plan and presentation slide deck from the series.