HBCUs Provide Outlets for Students to Give Back

Howard and Morgan State University, perhaps the two of the mostknown Historically Black Colleges and University’s (HBCUs) onthe east coast, are teaching students the importance of communityservice.

 According to Howard’s website, www.howard.edu, The HowardUniversity Volunteer and Community Service Program promotes studentinvolvement in activities both on and off-campus and in theimmediate community areas.

The Student Activities office held anorganizational and community service fair on September 22. The fair allowed students to gather information about variouscommunity service opportunities on and off campus.  Studentsand community service organizations said the fair was asuccess.

April Vance, senior broadcast journalism majorat Howard said, “The fair was a resourceful bank ofinformation.  I received significant amounts of information onvolunteer, community service, and prevention.  It was a greatidea.”

AmeriCorps representative, Alyssa Marlow said,”I’ve never been at an event with such enthusiasm andparticipation.  It was great for us to be here.”

Nyla Lyons, Howard University AssistantDirector of Student Leadership and Community Service said anestimated one-tenth of the student body completed community servicelast school year.  She continued, “My goal this year isto triple that figure.”

The office of Student Activities recordsstudents’ completed service hours so a record is available whenstudent’s need recommendation letters, scholarshipapplications, or just want a copy for their portfolios.

Although opportunities are presented tostudents, some choose to not participate.

Howard University junior broadcast journalismmajor, Kevin Harris said,

“Community service is important but I donot do community service because I haven’t found a programthat I feel comfortable doing and I don’t have time in myschedule.  I would give my time if I saw there was aneed.  I haven’t seen anything that has appealed tome.”

Morgan’s Office of Community Servicediffers from Howard because it is “a public urban universityfor the state of Maryland and therefore is responsible forestablishing community programs that will provide students with theopportunity to understand urban life and phenomena,”according to its website, www.morgan.edu.

Morgan State University’s CommunityService Office, created in November 1993, provides several programsfor students addressing the social, cultural, education, andrecreational needs of residents in the Baltimore Metropolitanarea.

Like Howard, Morgan held the Morgan StateUniversity Student Organizational Fair last on September 15.

Deanna Ikhinmwin, director of the CommunityService said, “Our students are very much involved in theadministration of our community service programs.”

“About 10 percent of the total studentpopulation is involved in community service through thisoffice,” said Ikhinmwin.

Ikhinmwin continued, “Our communityservice programs are student-run [therefore] students gainleadership that encourages and inspires them to use theircreativity to recruit and train counselors and big brothers andsisters for community service.”

Jahod, an after school program focusing ontutoring and mentoring young females ages 11 to 15 is headed byAlissa Gittens, a senior at Morgan.  Gittens began as a BigSister in the program.  “We put on group activities topromote unity.  We’ve done collages and we’ve putpoems the girls have written together to make a book,”Gittens said.

“Jahodhas been in existence twelve years and I have been apart of Jahodfour years,” said Gittens.  “We use flyers, word ofmouth, and the campus radio station WEAA to get the word out oncampus about Jahod.  We also attract [potential Jahodvolunteers] by being visible on campus.  People see us and askwhat we are doing,” Gittens added.