“We want to give students the idea, from the very beginning, that we are interested in helping and working with the community,” Peer Mentor Coordinator Laurie Lindberg said. “By having this new requirement, the students, in looking for an outside service-related activity, get to be more familiar with what resources there are on campus.
Like the social event, freshman are allowed to take part in volunteering at any point during the nine-week Honors 100 class in order to get credit, though some mentors may require it be done earlier. The exact guidelines have yet to be determined, as it is still a new idea.
“Not only are [service activities] resume-builders, they also get students involved in service organizations, philanthropy and volunteering,” mentor Drew Miles said. “It’s about involvement, stepping out and giving back to the community. The social events help you become more connected to campus, but this is about being better connected to Muncie. There’s a trend of people actually going out into our community.”
The service requirement is intended to be fulfilled by an event or activity that involves the student going out into the community and being social. As such, something like a blood drive - which does involve giving back to the community - would not suffice, as it doesn’t necessarily fulfill the social aspect of service that Lindberg and the mentors are aiming for.
“I like that volunteering is encouraged,” freshman Maggie Sutton said. “But personally, I think it could be extended into second semester too, after freshmen have established themselves a bit and know where to find all of these resources.”
The ultimate goal of including service in the Honors 100 agenda is establishing connections within BSU and Muncie. Call-out meetings for service organizations and volunteering count for the service requirement, just as long as students are reaching out to connect with others. This, according to Lindberg, will help them to start thinking in terms of networking sooner than they may have without the requirement.
“We think this fits in with the whole idea that we want people who graduate from Ball State, the Honors College in particular, to be aware of the people around them, to want to help, to want to work together on worthwhile things,” Lindberg said. “Honors kids already tend to be involved in serving their community - this just adds an emphasis on it.”