Scholarships offered to reward student community service

Briana Haguewood

The Student Activities Center wishes to “give back” to those ISU students who have given extraordinary time and effort serving the community.

Students with a history and an interest in community service can now apply to be recognized through three scholarship and award opportunities that acknowledge outstanding volunteers. The Target Community Service Scholarship, Story County Youth Volunteer Awards and Non-Profit Protégé Program are all available through the Student Activities Center for any student with an interest in creating change through service work. Applications are due in early March for all three opportunities.

The Target Community Service Scholarship will recognize three ISU undergraduate students with $800 scholarships. This is the second year that the Student Activities Center was invited to apply for and received a Target Campus Grant to reward students for exceptional time and energy spent serving others.

Recipients of the SAC scholarships in the past found the volunteer work they did in the past to be rewarding.

“College can become a self-centered occupation with all pressure to go and do and be something that someone will want to hire someday,” said Hannah McCulloh, one of last year’s recipients of the Target Community Service Scholarships and a senior in history. “Service steps away from that, though, and gives me a chance to see myself and others in a different light.”

And the actions did not go unwatched.

“Receiving this scholarship made me realize that people actually noticed what I was doing,” said Ryan Sievers, a 2010 Target award recipient and graduate in civil, construction and environmental engineering.

Applications for this scholarship can be found on the Student Activities Center website and are due March 5. Recipients will be selected sometime this spring, and funds distributed in fall 2011.

“This scholarship is important because there are not many ways on campus to recognize students that are very involved in community service,” said Jennifer Nissen, coordinator of leadership and service for the Student Activities Center. “It’s important to be able to give students not only a monetary award but also the recognition they deserve.”

Nissen said the selection committee who will evaluate applications would be looking for students who have really given extra time and effort to serve the community. Applicants’ financial need, along with volunteer experience, will be taken into consideration when selecting the recipients — more so than grade point average.

The exact nature of students’ service can be very open-ended: The service can have been for the global or national community as well as local. Last year, 35 to 40 students applied for the Target scholarships — this year SAC already received at least that many applications, with the deadline still weeks away.

Individuals and groups who have displayed admirable volunteer service in the past year qualify for the Story County Youth Volunteer Awards. Award-winners can be elementary school, middle school, high school or college-level groups or students, or community volunteers and groups. Nomination forms can be found online and are due March 18.

For students interested in working in the non-profit field, the Non-Profit Protégé Program is an opportunity to gain firsthand experience and insight into the work involved, Nissen said. Through directly shadowing an administrator of an Ames non-profit organization during the fall semester, protégés will be able to experience the energetic and eventful atmosphere of the non-profit world.

“This experience was really rewarding because I was able to speak with the president weekly and I am still working with the organization now,” said Jasmine Swyningan, senior in economics, about her work as a protegé at United Way of Story County.  “They were warm and welcoming, which led me to take on an independent study there and I decided to incorporate them into my research.”

Protegés will sit in on their mentor’s weekly board meetings, staff and committee meetings, and visits with potential financial sponsors. To be considered for the program, ISU students must be of at least sophomore standing, have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and plan to be a full- time undergraduate ISU student next fall. Applications are due March 4.