Service initiatives inspire students to change the world
University-sponsored volunteer activities, such as the semiannual Morning of Service, are motivating students to give back on a larger scale. Last summer, some Aurora University students pursued their desire to work for the common good beyond their local communities and to study different cultures.
“Students are really taking the helm on the service initiative that has become so identifiable with Aurora University,” said Kris Johnson, Director of Student Leadership. “They have moved from a ‘me’ orientation to a ‘we’ orientation on a global scale.”
A chance to gain cultural understanding and experience self-discovery while giving back to others are the reasons junior psychology major Cody Fuerst spent five weeks in Tanzania, Africa, last summer. He taught at a nursery school and also volunteered at a juvenile detention center.
“Perhaps the most meaningful moment during my trip to Tanzania was my arrival at an orphanage,” said Fuerst. “The children were so happy when they greeted me. I gained a newfound appreciation for everything I have in my life—and realized that those I serve teach me great lessons in return.”
She earned nine credits traveling to eight countries in one summer. Having always loved to travel, junior social work major Julie Gregg found an opportunity to spend her summer with the Semester at Sea study-abroad program.
“Through my study-abroad experience, I’ve discovered a passion for learning about diverse cultures,” Gregg said. “Semester at Sea has given me many new perspectives on life and a better understanding of the world, which I think are important to share with other students.”
Four weeks volunteering with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Guatemala solidified Sarah Starkey’s passion for wanting to spend her life serving the world and helping others. Starkey helped feed the hungry, taught classes on hygiene, planned children’s events and helped schools with various campus improvement projects.
“As a social work major, all that I have learned at AU and abroad will greatly benefit me in my future career,” said Starkey. “Guatemala gave me a greater understanding of the brokenness in the world and increased my desire to serve for the betterment of humankind.”