Make our community a better place

Ferris holds first Ferris service summit

Ferris is holding the first Ferris service summit to increase awareness of academic service learning and volunteer opportunities.

“We are hoping to build excitement for academic service learning and volunteering because the activities are win-win for students as they gain from their experiences and a win for community when their needs are met,” Academic Service Learning Coordinator Stephanie Thomson said.

The event will take place from 10:30 a.m.-8:15 p.m. on Nov. 8. There will be breakout sessions at 11 a.m. in Rankin that focus on Michigan Campus Compact VISTA/AmeriCorps in the Centennial Dining Room, the Ferris Volunteer Center in the Mecosta Room, and a “how to” on Academic Service Learning in the Whitney Young Room. There will be posters and displays set up by faculty to share their class academic service learning projects and by local organizations to share their needs, both in the morning and prior to the evening speaker.

In addition, there will also be gift card drawings from Barnes & Noble after breakout sessions. Drawings for a tablet, including the iPad, will take place at the evening event. The evening speaker is a five-star event aimed at motivating students, faculty and community members to get involved and to see the possibilities.  

Chad Pregracke will be the keynote speaker. After previously seeing Pregracke speak briefly at a conference, Thomson was excited by his energy and desire to make the world a better place, even if it was one day or one act at a time. Pregracke founded the nonprofit organization Living Lands and Waters as a young man when he saw what people’s trash was doing to the river he loved.

Today, he serves as president of the organization that strives to aid restoration and awareness of the environment of rivers and promote stewardship.

“It’s the little things that really do add up,” Pregracke has said. “And if a lot of people come together and do those little things, it adds up to big things.”

“Chad is an energetic speaker that knows what it is like to tackle big challenges. His experiences can provide inspiration for each one of us, as we tackle our own life and community challenges,” Thomas said.

Allissa Witucki, assistant director of Student Leadership and Activities, is co-sponsoring the event. Wendy Samuels co-coordinates the Academic Service Learning Project with Thomson. Members of the Academic Service Learning project steering committee include Sandy Burn, studying dental hygiene, and Michelle Stone, who is in the criminal justice program.

Thomson said this event will benefit students in several ways. The purpose of the sessions and speaker are to provide new information about possible class projects and volunteer opportunities. The events also provide chances for great networking. Thomson’s goal for anyone who attends is to not only know what he or she can do, but also be able to discover how to get started. For more information contact Vickie Streeter at or ext. 2403.