Back in October, The Springfield Student published a story detailing the transition of the Humanics in Action Program from a one day event to a year-long initiative. The story included information on why the change occurred and what the new plan was moving forward.
Now, nearly a full semester with the new Humanics Program in place, The Student followed up to look at how the transition has gone, and what is in place moving forward.
The process of converting Humanics in Action from a one day event to a year long initiative has required much patience and effort from many members of Springfield College, but that patience is beginning to show signs of paying off.
Charlene Elvers, the Director of the Center for Service and Leadership, has been one of the leaders in transitioning the program to a year-long effort.
“I would say the process is going pretty well, but any kind of change takes time,” she said. Over the course of the first semester, Elvers and others from the Center for Service and Leadership have created various programs for service.
Some of the programs include Springfield College Assisting Neighbors [CAN program], where students volunteered to aid neighbors of the College with yard work and other home improvement tasks. The Walking School Bus was another program that allowed Springfield College students to volunteer to walk local elementary school students to school each Wednesday morning.
Other volunteer activities in addition to that include: the College Awareness Program, which is offered by the Humanics in Action Club, the Partner’s Program Sports Week and Leadership Week, the First Friday Family Fun Night Program [The 4-F Program], the Let’s Play program, and various food and clothing drives.
These activities have drawn numerous volunteers from athletic teams, to residence hall floors, to individual students who signed up.
Jezavya Rivera, who works as an AMERICORPS Vista in the Center for Service and Leadership and has also aided in the transition to the year-long program, agreed with Elvers in her analysis of how the switch has gone.
“I would say, just like Charlene said, everything takes time. But the baby steps we have been taking we can already see a difference from the very beginning of the semester until now,” said Rivera.
The difference has to do with the sheer number of volunteers.
“Last Wednesday we had the most volunteers for our walking school bus which was absolutely phenomenal. We had a ton of students, we were able to cover all three walking routes which was a lot of fun,” Rivera said.
The CAN program has also been a huge success in the first semester. Rivera added, “They’ve [the students] sent me pictures and little videos of them jumping in the leaves and having a great time with their neighbors, as well as a lot of them want to continue being with the same neighbor next semester.”
Despite positive success to this point and good participation, Elvers would like to keep improving it. “I would like to see a broader kind of menu of opportunities for students. I think students are willing to participate in service and they like to do that, but I think this semester we’ve offered not as many as I’d like to see,” she said.
In the second semester, Elvers hopes to create a pen pal program that will allow student-athletes on campus to connect with local elementary school students as they write letters back and forth.
If all goes well, this is an idea that could be opened beyond just athletic teams, to the entire campus, so all students could have the possibility of having a pen pal.
“I’d love to run it the whole spring semester so that there’s an exchange of letters all semester, and then towards the end of the semester plan an event to bring the kids and the athletes together so that they would meet their pen pal at some kind of an event,” Elvers said.
There is also an eye on making use of the Center on Eastern Avenue to further reach the community. Some initial ideas include teaching young adults how to use computers and having knitting nights at the Center.
Elvers had high praise for the Humanics in Action Club, formerly known as the Together Campaign, for their efforts this semester.
“They’ve been doing an amazing, amazing job. They have done so many events and activities,” she said. “They’ve stepped up and they’ve just done a ton of stuff and they’ve involved a number of students, they’ve been amazing.”
Thus far, Humanics in Action every day has been a success, and it should only continue to grow moving forward. “That’s been a great step, is this ongoing engagement, and that’s what this program is been designed to do. To not be a one time thing,” Elvers said.
“Even though there may have been fewer opportunities, the opportunities we have provided we got great feedback about and people want to continue and come back. They’re appreciating that we now have programs that they can continue instead of just a one-day kind of thing,” she said. “I’m happy with the variety of things and the different clubs and different people who have been involved, I just want to grow it some more, and I know that we will.”
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Flickr