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Student Senate proposal to fund students’ service learning projects

slc

Student senate is proposing a $750 grant for the Service Learning Center (SLC) to help students this semester serve the community and love neighbors in Grand Rapids without the worry of cost. The general form of the proposal has been approved, and details will be finalized soon with a meeting between student senate and the SLC.

The SLC, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, “emphasizes the idea of relationship-building and reciprocity, not one-way handouts,” explained Noah Kruis, SLC associate director. The SLC follows a model of partnering with local organizations and “working alongside people invested in the long-term.”

Students interested in serving in the Grand Rapids area are encouraged to apply for grants when they become available whether it’s to “host neighbors for dinner or buy hot cocoa to serve it to people out in the cold,” said Kruis.

“Propose an idea, submit it to our office, we’ll review it,” explained Kruis. The ideas will be approved on a case-by-case basis and then the SLC will help with guidance and planning. There is currently no fixed amount of grant money that will be given.

The grant is expected to develop ties between students and locals and also benefit the local community.

“The nature of this grant would allow for a little more flexibility for students to do smaller projects… and provide opportunity for relationships” for Calvin students in Grand Rapids neighborhoods to reach out to neighbors, said Kruis.

“A house of Calvin students in Eastown, for example, could use the grant to buy snow shovels and shovel neighbors’ sidewalks,” Kruis added.

Service-learning is a central part of Calvin College, and Ana Van Lonkhuyzen, a sophomore senator, said it came up repeatedly during a student senate brainstorming session.

The proposal will allow students to submit ideas for service-learning opportunities in which additional funds would be helpful. Students’ proposals will be chosen by whether they “fit with SLC mission,” vision and goal according to Van Lonkhuyzen.

Student senate has some of the power to “make things happen” by partnering with various groups on campus like the SLC, said Van Lonkhuyzen. Student senate plans to take the $750 from their budget and channel that to students seeking financial help to do service-learning through the SLC.

Student senate hopes to keep communication with the SLC about how the grant is spent. They also want to create a newsletter to inform the Calvin community about students’ service-learning ideas. Advertising for the new proposal is expected to begin soon.

Look forward to seeing more information about this proposal in student news and on student senate posters around campus in the coming weeks.

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