Freshman SOS introduces students to service

Familiarization with the myriad of clubs, groups and organizations at Tech is no small feat for incoming freshman. Once most students settle into their niches, they tend to stay there and ignore the activities they might have been previously involved with.

In an attempt to greater involve the freshest of the freshmen in campus activities, the Georgia Tech Community Service Council and the Department of Housing have created a new “Summer of Service” program.

Open to all incoming freshmen, the program seeks to provide a hands-on introduction to the philanthropic side of Tech, as well as to foster connections between new students.

With the thrill of a new environment, meeting new people, experiencing the freedom of college, finding classes and trying to stay caught up with schoolwork, many incoming students forget about the community service side of college life. Tech students are involved in over 300 organizations, many of them based on improving the Tech and Atlanta area through community service.

“The Freshman Summer of Service (Freshman SOS) program was started last year to engage summer freshmen in a variety of community service activities,” said Lori Reinert, ME ’08 and the organization’s previous program coordinator.

“We recognized the opportunity to introduce them to philanthropy before the stress of classes hit them in the fall, and we hoped that this informal setting would allow them to seek out what interested them and to discover how diverse Tech’s service opportunities really are.”

Some of these service organizations include TEAMBuzz, BOPSOP, Alpha Phi Omega and Dance Marathon. TEAMBuzz is an annual day of service, drawing in the Tech community to improve the Metro-Atlanta area.

BOPSOP is a youth mentoring program that partners Tech students with students from local elementary and middle schools. Alpha Phi Omega is a co-ed community service fraternity, which boxed canned good at the Atlanta Community Foodbank last year. Dance Marathon organizes an overnight fundraising event for the Children’s Miracle Network & Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Last year the organization raised over $30,000.

“These projects are as diverse as our service programs here at Tech,” Reinert said. “Our goal was for a particular cause or a type of work to resonate with each participant and inspire them to pursue it further.”

Tailoring organizations specifically towards freshmen is no new concept. Tech has many organizations directed at incoming freshmen such as Freshmen Foundation, Freshmen Council and FreShGA. The Freshmen Activities Board (FAB) is a group of freshmen who plan social activities throughout the year for new students. Because of its success, one event that FAB planned last year, Kids @ Kollege, is now an organization all to itself.

Kids @ Kollege is a day for underprivileged kids from the Metro-Atlanta area to spend a day of fun at Tech. This includes a barbecue, outdoor science experiments and playing games with Tech athletes such as football players and cheerleaders.

While there is no formal summer community service program for non-freshman students, a list of service projects can be found at www.service.gatech.edu