• Tara Flanagan

Florida Service Trip Leaves Lasting Memories for Olivet College Students


Olivet College is all about the goal to “Be More. Do Good”, which is why Olivet offers several opportunities for community service such as holding Service Day once per semester and organizing service trips. Service trips are off-campus community service excursions held for students at Olivet College and are free of charge, except the meals on the road.

There is also a scholarship program held for incoming freshman called the Difference Maker. Students who are a part of the Difference Maker program have a certain amount of service hours they must fill through these trips. The recipients for this year’s Difference Maker Award were sophomore Julia Bidelman and junior Donovan Moncada-Clark.

Community Service Coordinator Jacob Richards was asked how many times he has been on the service trip to Florida and if is it the same experience each year. Richards said through email, “This is my first service trip to Florida. However, I know that Mike Fales, (students) Julia Bidelman, and Donovan Kingston attended the trip last year. I know they worked with the same organization and stayed at the same place, so it should have been very similar to the trip last year.”

Richards was then asked how he decides who is going on the trip. In his email, Richards said, “In order to try and keep those decisions as fair as possible, we often decide by first come first serve. We always need drivers on the trips, so students who are approved to drive school vans have slots set aside as well as participants of the Difference Maker Program, who are required to volunteer for 25 hours per semester.”

Students always want to know, where to next? According to the email, “We don’t have a spot picked yet, but we will generally know at some point near the end of the fall semester. The location can change depending on where the natural disaster strikes.”

Sophomore Faith Sams said through email, “I heard about the trip through my email, and I signed up through email. I wanted to go to do Daytona, Florida. The trip was fun and a great experience meeting other people who were not like me. The part I really enjoyed was our last day in Florida. That night we went to St. Augustine Zoo and saw real alligators. We stayed in Daytona for six days. I would not change a thing.”

Freshman MaKenzie Borg said through email, “I first heard about the service trip through friends that were planning on attending the trip and through emails. I attended the service trip because, I thought it would be a fun experience. I met new people and created strong bonds with people on the trip. Overall, I went on this trip so I could do something that I could feel good about rather than staying at home. Our trip in total was 12 days and we spent it doing painting and repairing a damage roof. Something I enjoyed on this trip was roofing, because it was my first time roofing a house. Something I would change on this trip would be organization. I think there should be certain groups working on specific things, because there was to many people working on one thing or individuals not doing anything at all.”


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