For many Tech students, summer break goes beyond a vacation. This past summer, several students chose to invest their time giving back to communities in need by engaging in volunteer opportunities.
Tech offers several on-campus organizations that connect students with civic engagement opportunities in Atlanta and around the world.
Three key organizations that work in community service opportunities are the Office of Civic Engagement (CE), Mobilizing Opportunities for Volunteer Experience (MOVE) and Alternative Service Breaks (ASB).
Sarah Strohmenger, director for civic engagement in the Office of Student Engagement, described the purpose of CE.
“At Georgia Tech, so much of the work of the Office of Civic Engagement is to support students in their programming and community engagement efforts,” Strohmenger said.
According to Strohmenger, CE programs provide students an environment of creativity and reflection vital to personal growth. CE programming offers students an opportunity to engage consistently or just once for a few hours. Students can find a fulfilling experience by connecting to other students and community partners.
In collaboration with Wreck Camp, CE began a new effort to offer service project options for incoming first-years this summer.
Then, during Week of Welcome events, CE worked with MOVE to create “Small Act, Big Impact, A Day of Service,” another event offering for incoming freshmen.
Students can look forward to upcoming service projects and events as well.
The 11th annual “Into The Streets Day of Service” is set to take place on Sept. 11. Another popular event is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration and Commemorative Event Series.
“This event often encompasses a variety of service projects, along with discussions, reflection and speakers to help us serve with the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in mind.” Strohmenger said.
Similar to CE, MOVE also helps connect students to civic engagement opportunities throughout the campus community. MOVE is staffed with 6 different committees: Animal Welfare, Hunger and Homelessness, STEM and Education, Sustainability, Medical Assistance and Special Projects, which encompasses all subject areas not covered by the other committees. MOVE also offers a student-led podcast, The MOVEments Podcast.
“The MOVEments podcast gives listeners context of social issues that local leaders are addressing in our community, and different ways to get involved in those projects as well,” said Sydney Blakeney, fourth-year INTA and director of logistics for MOVE.
In Blakeney’s experience, students who are a part of MOVE share a passion for service. Because MOVE covers broad subject areas, their programming accommodates a variety of interests.
Students who join MOVE can connect to a network of students who share similar interests and values. And, taking on a committee position offers students experience in developing impactful civic engagement events and coordinating with service organizations for large-scale programming.
MOVE will be participating in the Student Organizations Fair and the Service Organizations Fair in the Fall Semester, as well as the “Into the Streets Day of Service” event.
Distinct from other programs, ASB offers students a unique and enriching experience through travel-based programming. Prior to COVID, ASB offered local, national and international engagement opportunities.
“ASB allows students to make an impact not only in the Atlanta community, but communities across the U.S. and around the world during those breaks from school.” said Nadia Ahmedin, fourth-year BME.
Ahmedin believes ASB’s immersive experiences were key to helping her form lasting relationships through the organization.
Not only do students have experiences of cultural immersion and helping communities in need, but they also form a unique bond with the other members of their team. ASB programming also offers students opportunities for personal and group reflection to enhance students’ understanding of their work.
ASB’s next service project is scheduled for Fall 2021. They also offer recurring programming in the fall, spring and summer.
For more information about CE, contact Sarah Strohmenger at [email protected]. For more information on MOVE, find them on Instagram and Facebook, @movegt.
For more information on ASB, reach out to [email protected].