A Second-Year AmeriCorps VISTA Member at Goldey-Beacom College Talks About Building the Foundations Needed for an Engaged Campus Community.

My name is Sulakshmi Vaid, and I am the Transform Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps Vista at Goldey-Beacom College for the GBC Volunteer Program. My service to this institution is to recruit volunteers from Goldey-Beacom for various community partners, including the Boys’ & Girls’ Club of Delaware, the FoodBank of DE, and more, and build the foundations needed for an engaged campus within the community. It is unbelievable for me to think that I am almost done with my second year as an AmeriAmeriCorps VISTA at Goldey-Beacom College.

Since I started here, so much has happened, and so much has changed! For one, we had a successful MLK Day of Service in which I had our entire department of Residence Life and the Men’s Basketball team come with other recruited volunteers and me for an off-campus service event.

MLK Day at Goldey-Beacom College

I continued having students volunteer at the Boys’ & Girls’ Club but also created long-term partnerships with various other organizations, including the FoodBank of DE. The new partnership with the FoodBank of DE has been incredibly prosperous. I have had a few students, including myself, volunteering at the FoodBank of DE. This new community partner also stocks our food pantry for free, thanks to the sponsorship of the Harry K. Foundation. My service site also now hosts Mobile Pantries on campus with the FoodBank of DE, in which many staff, students, and myself volunteer to distribute food to those on and off campus. It has been an incredible experience to help close the gap in food insecurity for individuals on and off campus and to see the students recognize its value.

When I think about my service, the word that comes to my mind is thankful. I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity to create avenues of community service for the students here and see the positive impacts our students and community made.

It has been challenging to create engagement for community service as we transition out of this pandemic but knowing how much good the students here can do and what community service can become here at Goldey-Beacom College keeps me determined. My experience as a VISTA has opened many doors for me and my project site, and I am excited to see what comes next!

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