Motivated Ferris State University students have rolled up their sleeves and invested thousands of volunteer hours to make a difference in the Big Rapids community. Their efforts in the community have been recognized by the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association, the office of Gov. Rick Snyder and The Salvation Army.
Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services Director Angela Roman cited the local relationship-building efforts led by Coordinator of the CLACS Volunteer Center Michele Albright and student staff members Sarah Ferenz and Tarina Mobley. Roman noted the collaborative work has positively impacted local community festivals, service projects and more by organizing student involvement.
“Michele and our students made it their focus to work on building important relationships to increase volunteer opportunities to strengthen the relationship between the university and the community,” Roman said. “Our efforts start with students who are motivated to get involved in the community and to give back. Embracing volunteerism, at a young age, instills something many of our students will take with them, after they graduate, to make a difference in future communities they will call home.”
The Big Rapids DBA named the CLACS Volunteer Center its 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented by the DBA at its annual meeting on Jan. 16 at the Blue Cow Café in Big Rapids. The awards honor businesses, individuals and organizations for going “above and beyond to make our downtown great.”
The state of Michigan further recognized the CLACS office as a 2017 Volunteer of the Year. The certificate, in part, reads, “This recognition is a well-earned milestone symbolic of time, planning and the personal commitment of many people who share the belief that community service is one of the greatest gifts we can give.” The recognition further highlights student volunteer efforts in the city of Big Rapids and at Ferris. The certificate was signed by Gov. Snyder, Lieutenant Gov. Brian Calley, State Senator Judy Emmons and State Representative Michele Hoitenga. The honor was officially presented as part of the state’s 99th legislature on Monday, Jan. 22.
The Salvation Army of Big Rapids has further highlighted the volunteer efforts of Ferris students with a third award demonstrative of the value of community service.
“We’re thankful for our students’ volunteer efforts to make a difference in our community and we’re appreciative of organizations our students have been able to collaborate with to make our community a great place to live,” Roman added. “This recognition means a lot because our students have taken on leadership roles to make this service possible.”
During the 2016-17 academic year, the CLACS Volunteer Center noted Ferris students recorded more than 11,000 volunteer hours. Those hours included participation in The BIG Event, a large-scale student community-service effort hosted annually in April.
“Ferris State University students want to make a difference in their communities and they take pride in their abilities to help others,” Albright said. “Volunteering gives them the opportunity to experience new perspectives, explore passions and interests, and develop lifelong skills and relationships. It is an honor to connect students with ways to contribute and support local efforts, activities and organizations.”
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PHOTO CAPTION: CLACS Volunteer Center student staff members Tarina Mobley, left, and Sarah Ferenz, right, accept an award from the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association.