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college students at reclaim it shop

Making a Difference

When a student reflects on their college experience, they hope to remember lifelong friends, riveting classroom discussions and walking across that stage to get their diplomas. But in today’s quickly evolving job market, there’s one thing students should be adding to their list of college memories: making a difference.

At Tiffin University, we believe that learning occurs in the classroom as well as off-campus through work experience and community service. However, there are barriers students face that can limit volunteering:

  1. Not enough time. With classes, sports, clubs and paying jobs, it can be difficult to find time for volunteering.
  2. Feeling stressed. Choosing a major, arranging internships and finishing assignments can be a bit overwhelming. Students may be reluctant to add another activity, such as community service, to their schedule.
  3. Lack of awareness. Students may not know where to find volunteer opportunities in a new community they now live in.

Despite these challenges, there are plenty of ways Tiffin University faculty and staff help engage students and encourage them to volunteer.

Professor Kylie Stocker takes her Dragon Education Core (DEC) class to Reclaim It in downtown Tiffin. Reclaim It is a charitable organization that refurbishes furniture, art, décor and other household items for resale. Along with the retail store, Reclaim It offers college and high school students the chance to learn new skills, such as carpentry, painting and design from 11 community educators and leaders.

“The Dragon Education Core (DEC) class teaches necessary research skills and fosters involvement in the community,” said Kylie Stocker. “There’s no better way to acclimate to a new town than to get involved and meet local community members.”

Stocker puts together this field trip in hopes that students will see how fulfilling it is to give back. “I have a lot of business majors and a handful of artistically creative students,” she said. “They saw first-hand how a nonprofit can be successful in a small town and how vintage furniture comes to life in the workshop.”

“It is refreshing for students to explore off-campus and find a hidden gem in downtown Tiffin,” she said. “After the field trip, many students reached out and thanked me for taking them and introducing them to the owner of Reclaim It. A handful of my students have kept in contact with the owner and volunteer there.”

Although there are barriers, there are bountiful benefits to volunteering. Through community service, you gain real-world experience, leadership, problem-solving and time-management skills. Moreover, you will make connections in the community and further your future career.

Don’t forget to add ‘make a difference’ to your college check-list.

Written by: Kaitlyn Boehler (Public Relations Coordinator)