Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
The last four months have seen the development of Berry’s newest scholarship program: the Service Fellows. The group of five freshman has dedicated time and energy into the initiative, and has been successful in laying the framework for the program’s future.
Throughout this semester, the Service Fellows have spent much of their time researching service and community outreach programs implemented by other colleges, in order to determine how best to proceed with their own. They have figured out effective methods on increasing student participation in service and analyzed how to most efficiently work within Berry’s campus. With this research, the group set goals for the future. Freshman Service Fellow Emily Kaszubowski explained that they created both short term and long term goals. The short term goals included creating a social media presence, and a potential volunteer tracking system, while the longer term goals centered around figuring out how to get Berry students more involved, such as creating a volunteer credit system.
Their main prerogative for next semester is establishing a social media presence. Although it has yet to be fully determined, Service Fellows Coordinator Stephen Swieton said the current goal is to create a service-oriented social media marketing campaign to promote the idea of more people doing service.
Swieton explained, “that might mean some different hashtags, some social media accounts, tying into some of the social media that already exists on campus, that’s the current goal.”
The program will also see a change in admissions and recruitment throughout next semester for incoming freshmen. Rather than going through a scholarship competition process in the same way that other scholarships, like Leadership Fellows or Presidential Scholars, do, next year’s Service Fellows will be scouted and chosen by admissions counselors. Prospective students will be recruited and offered the opportunity to become a Service Fellow when accepted to Berry.
Swieton explained, “It’s better for the program. It gets the program out there, people start knowing about it and thinking about it during the admissions process. It also means that a student can more further identify themselves as a Berry Service Fellow, and that’s pretty neat.”
Kaszubowski also believes that the Service Fellows initiative has been extremely helpful in her transition from high school to college.
Kaszubowski said, “I feel included while I’m so far from home. Service has always been a big part of my life so bringing that with me to college has definitely helped with the transition just because it’s something that I know.”
Overall, Kaszubowski does not believe the program has made a significant impact on Berry’s community yet, simply because the Service Fellows have taken this semester to decide how the new fellowship will work. However, she hopes the program will continue to improve Berry’s community.
Kaszubowski said, “I hope people will know that we represent service, so when they see us they are reminded about how much fun it is, and how much they want to participate.”