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MCCC’s Trenton Campus Students Rank First in Region,
Third in Nation in Volunteer Hours

5/7/14


Trenton, N.J. – For a special group of students at Mercer County Community College’s Trenton Campus (TC), community service has become a way of life.  Since the fall semester, they have amassed more than 250 hours of service and are focused on surpassing 500 hours by the end of the year.

That impressive total has placed them third nationally and first in the region for volunteer service hours tabulated by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI).

According to Anslikat Lavoile, president of the TC Student Activities Board (SAB), she and several other student leaders began to think seriously about volunteerism after attending the ACUI’s Regional Leadership Conference at Montclair State University in the fall.

“Our initial pledge was 100 hours, but we surpassed that pretty quickly,” says Lavoile, recalling that SAB members were uncertain at first about being able to reach even the first 100 hours.  But once they got focused, the hours began piling up.

Pictured at the Trenton Campus' Spring Day celebration are Student Activity Board volunteers, front row from left, Naraya Francis, Angela Peters, Morgan Eisenberg, and SAB President Anslikat Lavoile; back row from left, SAB advisor Terrence Carter, Kevin Parham, and Anthony Anglin.

The students’ main community beneficiary has been Turning Point United Methodist Church, located on South Broad Street down the street from MCCC’s Trenton campus.  SAB member Kevin Parham knew the church needed help serving breakfast to the homeless on Saturday mornings. Soon, a small band of Mercer students began showing up at 7:30 a.m. for a two-hour shift.  Now they are volunteering on a regular basis.

Lavoile says it’s become an important part of her Saturday routine.  “People at Turning Point have gotten to know us.  They haven’t had student volunteers in the past, so they really appreciate it.  If I miss a week, they will ask me where I was,” she says.  “It makes me feel good.”

Lavoile, who is studying to be a nurse, says that volunteerism is a natural extension of her chosen area of study.  “I like helping people,” she says.

Ang Tape, SAB vice president, agrees.  “We all want to help out in any way we can.” He and Tevin Stevens, the group’s events coordinator, have joined in at the church, as well as in assisting with teen events at the Boys and Girls Club, located at the Trenton YWCA.   In another project, group members made hoagies and served to them at the Salvation Army.

These students have become the “go-to” group when staff at the Trenton Campus needs help.  They have coordinated special events like Gospel Fest during Black History Month and Spring Day on April 30.  They assisted at an orientation session for the new Certified Nurse Assistant program at the campus, served as ushers at the Martin Luther King Day ceremony, and volunteered for Youth College events.

According to Lavoile and Stevens, “If we find out about a project, we make a group decision and then send a few people.  We are a small group, but we care.  A few key people can go a long way.”  Stevens adds that as a Theatre major, the opportunity to lead activities on campus has given him a stage that has enhanced his performance skills.

Anglikat says there are intangible rewards as well.   “When I go out into the community, I get to know a bunch of people who want me to succeed and support me,” she explains.

SAB advisor Terrence Carter, an academic counselor at the Trenton Campus, couldn’t be more proud and impressed with this group of students.  “From the first day we came back from the ACUI conference, they have been really excited about giving back,” he said.

Carter says it’s truly amazing how far beyond their original pledge they have gone.  “Out of all the colleges and universities that pledged to do the 100 hours-plus of community service, MCCC’s Trenton Campus SAB is ranked third in number of hours nationally, right behind the University of Akron and Plymouth State University.  They are first in our region (Region 7) in community service hours.”

Carter says it’s a feat he has not seen before.  “I’m so proud of them because they are doing this while juggling jobs, parenting, and school.  I think everyone should know how much they do for our college and our community.”

Visit the ACUI website here for the latest update on students’ volunteer hours.

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