Northwestern has partnered with a non-profit organization to encourage students to spend one day per week engaged in volunteer work or service to others.
“The concept is to pick one day and do something for someone else, as you can” Reatha Cox, director of First Year Experience and Leadership Development, told students during an informational meeting to explain the intent behind 1of7.org, a program developed by NSU alum Kip Patrick that encourages people to commit to doable tasks that benefit others. “Our goal is for every student at NSU to start thinking of service and doing for others.”
Patrick, who was guest speaker at this year’s New Student Convocation, and his wife developed 1 of 7 as a result of their experiences picking up trash, tutoring and engaging in other service projects at home and during their extensive travels. Patrick has travelled to more than 70 countries and completed some kind of service work in most of them.
“Being kind can start a chain reaction of positivity,” Patrick explains. “Being kind to others may lead them to be grateful and generous to others, who in turn are grateful and kind to others.”
Cox said each student has individual talents that can be tailored towards service to others. (Below: A bracelet students will be wearing this semester to show their commitment to volunteering).
For it’s first project, the student group will meet at 1 p.m. Friday and travel to the Robeline Food Pantry, a facility that serves as many as 250 families per year, to sweep, clean, paint and sort as pantry volunteers prepare to box meals for distribution. Future projects could include packing boxes for the military, packing hygiene kits for the homeless or participating in canned food drives, said Cox, who is compiling a list of charitable service opportunities in the Natchitoches area.
“We want the students to use their talents in a meaningful way. We think of service as doing something where other people see us,” Cox said. “We want to think of service as doing something just because it needs to be done.”