First-year seminar students benefit from serving others

Jan. 10, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—During fall 2018, College of Education and Human Development students participating in First-Year Seminar took part in volunteer opportunities that allowed them to help others in the Western Michigan University and greater Kalamazoo communities. Students found the experiences not only benefited others, but themselves, too.

students volunteering at Gibbs House

Students volunteering at Gibbs House

One class visited the Hospital Hospitality House in Kalamazoo, an organization that makes it easier for families to support their loved one receiving medical care by providing a homelike, comforting place to stay. The class cooked a meal and dessert for residents and also made encouraging cards for families staying at the house. The students received a tour of the Henderson Avenue facility and received information about the house. The students really enjoyed the experience and were welcomed to come back any time.

Another class visited the Gibbs House, a historical home located on Parkview Avenue owned by the Office for Sustainability that serves as a living laboratory for students to implement their sustainable design solutions and projects. The students helped weed the permaculture garden and learned about sustainability work on campus. Many of the students enjoyed the experience and felt it gave them a new perspective on how easy and fun volunteering can be. They agreed it was a great way to get to know their peers better and also gave them a sense of accomplishment while learning something new.

One student said, “after today’s activity at the Gibbs House, it helped me to gain a new experience of volunteering and community service. What I gained from this was the knowledge that volunteering can be much easier and simpler than we often think. My favorite part of this was learning all the different things about growing organic fruits and vegetables.”

First-Year Seminar is a transition course for first-year students. The two-credit course gives first-year students a shared opportunity to successfully make the academic and social transition to university life. Members of the College of Education and Human Development student services offices lead 8 first-year courses in partnership with the Office of Student Transitions.