Lending a hand

Honors program volunteers with Big Rapids nonprofits

Honors 1

Photo by Kip Biby   

Ferris Honors students prepare to paddle down the Muskegon River in canoes to pick up trash for their Days of Service and Learning Project. Each student is required to complete 30 hours of community service.

Honors students are taking to the Big Rapids community to volunteer, make friends and learn during the annual Days of Service and Learning project.

Volunteer opportunities range from planting flowers at the Big Rapids Community Library to canoeing down the Muskegon River to collect trash. Honors Advisor Charlie Malone explained for each Honors student’s required 30 hours of community service, they can think bigger than just the Ferris campus.

Each event is organized by a student facilitator. These facilitators are upperclassmen, tasked with running the event and asking students to reflect on the experience they had volunteering.

“There is a wide array of events and that is intentional,” Malone said. “Some students would rather ask for a shovel and get outside. Others would prefer to shelve books at the library, so we have options that meet student interests.”

Malone went on to say these events provide an opportunity for students to connect with the Big Rapids community and represent Ferris.

“I don’t think there’s a better way to get to know people than to do something meaningful with them,” said Malone.

Freshman Honors student Jessica Gardner volunteered at the Muskegon River cleanup on Friday, Sept. 18. The Honors students at the event paddled down the river in canoes to pick up trash from tubers and litter from river visitors.

“It shows the community that you don’t need to throw trash everywhere,” Gardner said. “It’s good to clean it up once in awhile so when people come here it looks good.”

Rachel Lanphear, another freshman Honors student, described the event as an opportunity to help the environment as well as a good chance for students to get satisfaction from helping as opposed to staying home and watching Netflix.

Days of Service events also included volunteering at the Red Cross, the Girl Scouts of America, the Women’s Information Service and many others. For more information about the Ferris Honors Program, visit ferrishonors.com.