Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
This year is the first year of a new scholarship program being offered at Berry, the Service Fellow scholarship. Similar to the Leadership Fellow scholarship, the Service Fellow scholarship aims to further fellows’ leadership skills by teaching them how to inspire community engagement. The four-year program gives students an opportunity to enact on Berry’s motto of “not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
Currently, the scholarship program has five members. Service Fellows program director Stephen Swieton explains that as far as expansion of the program goes, plans are to admit five new freshman every school year, ultimately resulting in 20 members of the program, with five from each class. Each class will spend their four years in the program working on a project that will enhance community service at Berry.
“It’s more about encouraging students to get out and serve than it is about going out on their own all the time and serving,” said Swieton.
As far as the first five service fellows, their project is just beginning. Each month, the group has a “project meeting.” As the year continues, they will continue discussions with people at Berry in order to figure out how and what to implement in terms of service. Preferably, students will have their project idea nailed down by the end of the year. In actuality, Swieton said he can’t be sure about whether or not this is the best implementation, seeing as this is the program’s inaugural year.
“We’re getting a background and doing research so that we’re making sure that what we’re doing is best for Berry, not just for any campus, but for our campus,” Service Fellow Claudia Evans said.
Evans predicts that the program is going to help her grow as a person, as a student, and in service.
“It’s completely about service, but it’s helping us grow as people also,” Evans said.
Swieton and Evans both have high hopes and expectations for the program. They believe that they will be able to help people get involved in the community, and in that, they will improve people’s lives.
“I hope that what we do improves the campus, that students will not just think of service as a one time thing, but do it in their life daily,” Evans said. “Service just gives you a feeling that you’ve contributed to the community, and you have a sense of… I don’t know how to describe it… just that you’ve connected to someone, and helped someone.”
Swieton said that students often participate in campus service events, like First Year Service or Martin Luther King Service Day, but end their involvement in service there. However, Swieton believes that this program will help students know how to get involved in a bigger way.