Service trips have been a vital part of student involvement at Western. Service trips isn’t just community service, but serving the community, growing as a person and being able to reflect on your experience.
Maria Vargas, a senior pursuing a double degree in Spanish and social science, has been involved with various service trips within the United States and internationally in Honduras. This spring break, Vargas will be leading a service trip to Portland, where her team will be working with the Janus Youth Center, Salvation Army and the Latino Network. Her team will mainly be doing in-direct service, where they will not be directly servicing and helping those that the organization helps but rather help with remodeling and behind the scenes organizing. Maria’s involvement with the Multicultural Student Union during her freshman year introduced her to volunteer opportunities; she later developed a passion for service trips and has been a part of five trips so far, with two upcoming trips under her belt. Her advice to newcomers is to “go in with an open mind and be flexible with the trip and time schedules”
Brenda Guzman, whom is joining Vargas on her Portland trip, is excited about being able to work with youth and being able to grow as a person. “I really want to work in the community and youth makes me want to help others around me. As a social science major this trip will help my degree by developing communication skills that will benefit my career and gain new knowledge that is not taught in the classroom.” The trip is a stepping stone into joining international service trips. Most volunteers mainly do direct service and don’t think of non-direct service as a contribution to those that the organization helps.
If you have any questions about service trips or volunteer opportunities, contact the Student Learning and Career Development office in the Werner University Center room 119, or 503-838-8432.