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Community outreach is not something students consider when exploring colleges; however, it is part of the foundation of the Hastings College experience. Hastings College students are immersed in community outreach from their very first weekend on campus. What started as one weekend of community service has evolved into a large food collection initiative — sending students out to all areas of the Hastings community to collect food for the Adams County Food Pantry.

Getting the students involved with the community right away not only helps familiarize them with their new surroundings but also helps strengthen the positive reputation of the college in the community.

Of course, this community project is just one of many opportunities students have to interact in a positive way with the community of Hastings. There are numerous student organizations on campus providing services that benefit the community such as the college chapter of Habitat for Humanity, Food for Thought (which packs lunches for elementary students to take home over the weekend) and the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Committee (which holds a sandwich making marathon to provide food for local residents).

The Inter-Greek Council is another campus entity that provides a great deal of community service outreach opportunities to students. It administers a minimum community service hour requirement on each of the 12 Greek organizations, however, they also make it a competition by honoring the group with the highest amount of hours completed at the end of each year.

While the hour requirement is five hours per semester, every group exceeds that expectation. The fraternities and sororities provide thousands of hours of community service to the Hastings community each year and their projects range from serving meals at Crossroads and holding clothing drives for the YWCA to raising money for the United Way and planting trees in the community arboretum.

Student Government also holds community outreach at the forefront of its mission. In fact, one of the subdivisions of this organization is the Community Affairs committee. In the past this organization has organized large scale community outreach events such as the Big Event and the Fall Fest. The Big Event is a nationwide community outreach day where hundreds of students go out to provide service to multiple venues in the community. It was adopted four years ago and has become a staple for the group. The event took a year off last year in order to reorganize, but it is planned to recur this coming spring in a new format.

It takes a lot to plan and implement this day — but the impact and reach that it has for the community is great. It also involves a large number of students (probably the largest number out of all of the community service events) since many of the athletic teams, fraternities and sororities and honorary organizations volunteer to help.

Fall Fest is another traditional event where Hastings College students venture into the community to rake leaves from the yards of community residents. Since last year, there has also been a community outreach event incorporated into the homecoming week activities which is another week-long celebration sponsored by this organization.

Nearly every nonprofit organization in Hastings has had some sort of interaction with Hastings College students. Again, while interacting with the community through outreach initiatives is not something that students think about when looking at a college, it is something that every Hastings College student will experience at one or multiple times during their college career. Hastings does that, and does it well.

About the Author

Colt Kraus
Director of Student Activities and Leadership, Hastings College

Colt is the Director of Student Activities and Leadership at HC, where he graduated with a BA in English in 2009. He received a Master's degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Missouri State University.


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