There are opportunities that are offered to us as college students that become much harder to find and fit into our schedule after graduation. This university prides itself on being a place that educates men and women for others, and there’s no better way to embrace this Jesuit ideal than committing yourself to service for other people.
There are opportunities to help out the local and national community with Circle K, the Center for Service and Social Justice and the International Service Program (ISP). All of these groups have many things in common, but one similarity is particularly concerning. There is a serious deficit of men willing to dedicate their time to service.
I was fortunate enough to embark on two separate trips to Haiti and Ecuador, and what I experienced there has molded me as a person and opened my perspective to our world. For both trips, I was teamed up with a group of fellow students who were strangers before the trips and are now a connected group of friends. It might not be the classroom that we were used to or most comfortable with, but it challenged us individually and as a group. We learned about justice, gratitude, humility and happiness while meeting the most interesting people from places we may never get the chance to explore again. I will never forget these experiences, and there’s no reason that other guys like me should be missing out on these opportunities.
While service abroad can take you to a place you’ve never imagined, service in our local community is equally valuable. There is much to learn around the Scranton area, and there are people who really benefit through the efforts of Circle K and the Center for Social Justice. The Center for Service and Social Justice runs projects throughout the year both locally and in places like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Circle K is a college-based Kiwanis program that does projects like Street Sweep and safe trick-or-treat.
This year, ISP has seen a very wide disparity between men and women, leaving some trips with only one man out of 10 students. I have a hard time understanding why that is the case. I’ve heard some theories that girls have a greater interest in clubs and often join in large groups while guys either tag along with a group of girls or they go by themselves. I’ve heard that girls are naturally more concerned about the welfare of others so they’re more inclined to serve. I personally think it might point to a larger problem that college males are hesitant to try things outside of their comfort zone. Broadening our perspective is a necessary supplement to our college education, and so I would challenge my fellow classmates to give service work a try.
Stop by the Center for Service and Social Justice in the DeNaples Center or get in touch with Circle K through RoyalSync. If you’re interested in going abroad, stop by Campus Ministries or the ISP Ball Roll on April 21 and ask anyone about how you can get involved in the trips for summer 2016.