COVE Calls for Caring

Ashleigh Parsons

Volunteerism. Community Service. These terms have been engrained in us since middle school. We were constantly told that no matter how high our GPA’s or SAT scores, if we didn’t participate in Habitat for Humanity or serve food at the local soup kitchen, we would not get into the competitive school of our choice.

So we followed our counselors’ advise and were accepted into one of the most selective schools in the country.

But now what? For many of us, once we arrive at Colgate, we divide our days between academics and socializing while the volunteering and other activities we participated in during high school are forgotten. This is partly our own fault, but it may also be because many of us simply don’t know how to get involved in extra-curricular activities on campus.

The Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) has existed for five years, yet many students on campus know little to nothing about what purpose this organization actually serves.

Contrary to many students’ misconceptions, the COVE is not itself a volunteer group. It is the umbrella that oversees the more than 35 student-led service teams that exist on campus. You are probably familiar with many of the programs, such as Sidekicks, Headstart, Habitat for Humanity and Banana Bingo, just to name a few.

The COVE’s responsibility is to oversee these programs, provide information to students interested in becoming involved and create a sense of unity between the numerous groups that exist. By structuring these groups and their commitments within a greater community framework, the COVE establishes its extended mission to bring new meaning to the idea of volunteerism.

While serving the community is important, equally important is understanding the bigger issues that are embedded in each specific organization, whether they are economic, social or political.

Furthermore, the COVE promotes volunteerism on a career level by hosting its Friday afternoon lunch series, “Doing Well By Doing Good.” These lunches, which are co-sponsored by Career Services, offer information on various non-profit sectors, as well as provide advice and career networking.

The COVE challenges students to take the extra steps and evaluate how their community service has both a local and global impact in hopes that the Colgate community members will reuse these skills and this knowledge throughout their lives.

On behalf of the team of COVE interns and staff, I invite you to stop by our office, located on the first floor of East Hall, to check out the service teams offered.

In future columns, we hope to provide additional information about the COVE and the many activities occurring on campus. And who knows, perhaps you will be motivated to sacrifice some time from Facebook or AIM and join your peers to better our surrounding community.