Students raise money for AACSPCA (photo by Elaina Clarke/TU student)

There are many reasons to give back through community service: helping others, making a difference, and doing the right thing are just a few. But when you’re a college student, time and money are oftentimes at a minimum.

Students who would normally be active in community service efforts find themselves at a loss for the time or avenues through which to make a difference. Although many want to lend their help and support to different causes, they may be unsure as to how, or even when, to do so.

Junior Psychology major Christa Morton says “community service can vary drastically” when it comes to college campuses.

 “Some people get very involved in community service, where others do not because they are very busy with their school load and experiencing college life,” she said.

So how can students find opportunities to give back while still juggling the work load and social life inherent to college?

Corinne DeRoberts, Towson University’s Coordinator of Community Service, says students normally get involved in community service work through the Office of Student Activities.

We work with Student Organizations, plan large campus wide events, provide leadership programming, off-campus student services, and community service initiatives,” she says.

There are numerous venues through which students can give back.

For Community Service specifically, students can participate in monthly Adopt-A-Campus events, Service Fairs each semester, and The Big Event in April,” DeRoberts said.

 Allison Glensor, a Junior Mass Communications major and secretary of the Towson chapter of Habitat for Humanity, says that becoming involved on campus is easy.

 “In regards to TU, reading the daily digest is an easy way because events are always being posted,” she said. “Paying attention to boards and signs will help and being open minded and going to a meeting instead of deciding (without going) that you’re not interested.”

Many students believe that the only way they can truly make a difference is through monetary donations. However, according to DeRoberts, money is just one method of giving.

Students don’t need money to serve – their most valuable asset is their time,” she says. “There are a few volunteer opportunities on or near campus and students can hop on the bus to go to sites downtown.”


To Glensor, giving back can begin simply by changing your outlook.

“Living life with an open mind with the goal to help those around you will be not only beneficial to the person being served, but a lasting memory and mark on the servers life,” she says. “A day is a lot better when you’re kind to strangers and those in need.”

According to DeRoberts, the most popular form of community service as of early this semester is environmental work. Towson promotes charitable works by requiring community service hours of its student organizations.

Every student organization is required to do community service (5 hours for budgeted groups & 3 hours for affiliated groups), as well as athletic teams & sport clubs,” she says. “There are 14 student organizations dedicated to service.”

College can, in many ways, offer unique experiences for students to give back. However, it requires a dedication and willingness to sacrifice. Glensor, for example, is attending Towson on a Students in Service scholarship. As part of this scholarship, she must complete 300 hours of “direct service” in 365 days.

At Towson I am involved with Habitat for Humanity as the Secretary for our Towson Chapter,” she says. “This job includes the secretarial duties (minutes, communication with members) as well as setting up and working on houses within the Baltimore/Harford County area. I am also currently working on 300 community service hours with AmeriCorps…”

Getting involved on campus may be easier than one assumes, but it requires a commitment that many students may not be willing to give.

To serve one must set time aside and make sacrifices, and frankly students would much rather drink their Friday night away than wake up early Saturday to help those who need a hand,” Glensor said.

Regardless, the opportunity to give back to the community is one of which many students are more than willing to take advantage.

 “Community service is important because it is so good for both the people doing and receiving,” Morton says. “I always feel accomplished, and the service gives me meaning and purpose. Community service benefits people who might not originally be able to get help and now they are able to get the help they need!”

 Glensor agrees with the sentiment.

 “I believe community service builds character, makes a lasting impression on the servers life and is incredibly beneficial to the person/group being served,” she says.

Practical skills are learned and the beauty of humanity is brought out during service.”

For students who want to get involved on campus, there are many different outlets at their disposal. But as Glensor pointed out, perhaps the most fundamental tools for service to the community are dedication and the desire to make a difference.


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