SERV Update and Restructuring

We’ve had a lot of conversations over the past few months and years about what service means to the Olin community. Now it’s time to address all the concerns we’ve noted time and again.

We’re proposing a complete restructuring of SERV, which you can find the details of within CORe’s restructuring proposal for Olin’s student government (read more about Olin’s change of structure to student government in the previous article “If It Ain’t Broke… Make It Better”). We’re presenting an alternative version of SERV where the current 8-person SERV Board will be condensed down to a 2-person committee consisting of a Director and Assistant Director. This doesn’t mean SERV is going away or hiding behind the scenes. It doesn’t mean service is any less important. It simply means that we’re setting up a structure to revert back to SERV’s original purpose.

As it currently stands, it is largely up to the SERV Board to generate and implement all service ideas at Olin, which has led to a warped sense of what service means to our community and placed a certain stigma around Friday Service Time. SERV’s actual role should be to facilitate and fund service clubs, organizations and activities, and we think it will be far more effective to have a 2-person committee working with a wider group of non-SERV members to revitalize service at Olin.

Oh, and about Friday Service Time – we’re proposing a name change to something, more along the lines of “Community Time” or “Community Growth Time,” in order to encompass a wider net of activities that could improve Olin as well as help the outside community. If you have any ideas for what we should rename the time to, drop us a line. If you’re unfamiliar with what Friday Service Time is, look in the course catalog on star.olin.edu at the time slot on Fridays from 3:20 – 5:00. You’ll notice it is blocked off as “Community Service.”

Now here’s the fun part! We are also using this semester to experiment with different ways to encourage service at Olin. After reflecting on feedback received last semester about Olin’s culture and what we can do to improve service awareness at Olin at the conversation with Rae-Anne Butera, the SERV Board is excited to introduce a new program we are piloting this semester: Service Pursuits. Much like the existing Passionate Pursuits program, the Service Pursuits program encourages and supports students toward pursuing their personal philanthropic interests during their time at Olin. Students choose a project, set their own goals, and develop their interests with the guidance of faculty or staff members. Then they can receive funding from SERV.

There is a wide variety of service opportunities open to Olin community members. Some opportunities are off-campus with local non-profit organizations, while others are internal, such as service to the college. Both types of projects will be considered for funding. Funding of up to $50 per student will be available each semester, and we encourage students to submit applications to the SERV Board at any time throughout the semester. The Service Pursuits application form will be emailed out today and placed in the SERV folder on Public. You can also grab a hard copy from us when we table at lunch!

In addition, we are introducing the Service Drivers mailing list: service-drivers@lists.olin.edu. This list is for student volunteers willing to provide rides for people who want to do service off campus. Students seeking rides related to performing service can send a request to the mailing list to see if anyone is available to help them with transportation.

Both of these programs are new, and we would love to hear your feedback. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you just want to chat about the state of service at Olin, please email serv@lists.olin.edu.

October Updates from the SERV Board

Happy October from the SERV board! First and foremost, we are thrilled to welcome our two newest SERV members: Michael Costello and Brenna Manning! Just as a reminder, though, service is for everyone. The role of the SERV board is to give you the funds and resources necessary to make service easy. If you ever have an idea for a service activity or want to volunteer, let us know!

We had an exciting month in September. This semester’s kickball tournament was one of our most successful yet, and we raised over $160 for Kick-it, an organization dedicated to children’s cancer research. The weather was great, and we had a lot of fun and friendly competition! Congratulations to the winning team, Baller Not Ready.

In September, we also cleaned up Parcel B and made blankets for Project Linus during Alumni Weekend, had Olin students and faculty walking in the Jimmy Fund Walk and running in the Charles River Center 5K. To cap it all off, we held a Thankathon with the Office of DFAR to call parents and alumni who donated to Olin in the past fiscal year. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this month’s SERV events a success!

Here are the events coming up in October that you should look out for:

10/3 – Blood Drive

Contact Michael Resnick for more information.

10/11 – International Day of the Girl Child

In order to participate in this annual event to promote gender equality, SERV had combined forces with SWE and eDisco to invite middle school girls from the community to come to Olin from 9am-12pm on Saturday October 11th to hear from women role models and learn more about engineering. We’re still looking for volunteers, so let us know if you want to help out!

We will also be making more blankets for Project Linus at Family Weekend. You should all keep an eye on your inbox mid-October for the SERV Auction kick-off. This is SERV’s biggest event of the year, and we’re really excited to get started. If you’re interested in helping out this year, email serv@olin.edu – we can use all the help we can get!

Remember, SERV is here for you, and we are always open to your exciting new ideas! E-mail us at serv@olin.edu, follow us on Twitter @olinserv, and Like us on Facebook! Have a great month and eat lots of apple cider donuts!

Kicking Off the New Year with SERV!

Welcome back to Olin! We hope your summers were wonderful, and we’re really excited as a board to share with you all the new, exciting service-oriented activities we’re planning for the new semester. We have elections, we have events, and we have resources for all your volunteering needs! Read on to find out more.

Here’s what’s on the horizon for our first month of school:

9/19 – Kickball Tournament! Our semi-annual kickball tournament for Kick-It, an organization working towards a cure for children’s cancer, will be happening on Friday, September 19. Grab your friends and form a team! Registration is $20 per team, and there should be 8-10 people per team. We are also looking for referees, so let us know if you want to volunteer.

9/20 – Alumni Weekend SERV. On Saturday of the reunion weekend, we will be hosting a Parcel B clean up from 11:30am- 1:00pm and making blankets for Project Linus, an organization that donates blankets to children in need, during the picnic from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Stop by for a while and hang out with alumni while you walk through Parcel B or make a fuzzy blanket!

9/21 – Jimmy Fund Walk. Every year, Team Olin walks in memory of our former VP of Academic Affairs Mike Moody. Join the team or donate to help our team reach their goal of $10,000!

9/28 – Charles River Center 5K! This year, SERV is sponsoring the Charles River Center Road Race, a 5K to raise money for an organization that has been providing aid for adults and children with disabilities and autism for 58 years. Join the Olin College team and run with us in Needham/ Wellesley on Sunday at 11am! SERV will reimburse each student $5 for the registration fee. They are also looking for non-runners to volunteer at the race, so let us know if you are interested.

This year, the SERV board will be holding weekly lunch meetings from 12:30-1:30 in the Crescent Room on Fridays, so feel free to stop by and say hello and find out what we are planning. We are also going to be tabling during lunch again, so stop by on your way through the dining hall to say hi and see what we’re up to!

As always, SERV is here for you, and we are always open to your exciting new ideas! E-mail us at serv@olin.edu, join the CarpeSERV mailing list for updates about spontaneous community service opportunities, and follow us on Twitter @olinserv to get the latest update on upcoming events. Oh, and we have a Facebook page now, so Like us there, too! Have a great month, and welcome to all of our first years!

Election News!

Every fall, we elect two more general members to join our SERV board. Of the two positions available, at least one has to be filled by a first year student, but everyone is welcome to run. Applications are due on Friday, 9/12 and we will be hosting a school meeting and inviting people to vote on Monday, September 15 and Tuesday, September 16 respectively. If you would like more information on how to get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Ari at ari@students.olin.edu or Julianne at julianne. jorgensen@students.olin. edu. We’d love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have, and we’ll be sending more details about the election process soon as well. We can’t wait to finish filling our SERV board for the year! :)

Friday Service Time: A Lie

This isn’t just another article about Friday Service. This is more than just an attempt to get people involved. This is an article about change and experiments. This is an article about fixing things.

I’ve spent the last two years on the SERV board, first as a Friday Service coordinator and then as the Chair, and in these two years we’ve tried various different ways to bring the service culture back to Olin. The problem is that the community is no longer engaging in service activities, even when SERV offers them.

When we give tours to outside guests and prospective students, we stop at the top of the wooden waterfall and we talk about what makes Olin unique, and without fail we mention the importance of service to the college and the community. We talk about how we have a dedicated time on Friday afternoons where no one has classes so that everyone can focus on community service.

Well, guess what? We’re lying.

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Updates from the Illustrious SERV Board

What’s up, Olin? It’s your favorite SERV board, back for your final update of the fall semester.

To kick things off, thank you all SO MUCH for helping us make the SERV Auction a huge success — your donations were bid on for $10,300, more than ever before! We especially want to thank all our volunteers and proxy bidders who went the extra mile, our awesome MCs Dan and Noam, and our splendid faculty and staff who really went above and beyond with their donations. The SERV Auction is definitely our biggest event each year, and it’s wonderful to see the entire community participate and donate to such a great cause!

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Updates from the Illustrious SERV Board

Happy October from the SERV board! First, some good news – thanks to your votes, we have elected our two new general members from the first year class: Maddy Fort and Shrinidhi Thirumalai! We are super excited to have them join our team.

Now that the semester is well underway, we are looking for larger impact service projects that we can do over the course of the next few months. As always, if you have any ideas, let us know and we’ll see what we can figure out!

Here’s what we’ve been up to and what’s on the horizon as we enter the fall season:

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Updates from the Illustrious SERV Board

Welcome back, everyone! The SERV board is incredibly excited for another great year as we support, encourage and recognize volunteerism, in case you forgot where the acronym comes from. Beginning this semester, we will be publishing an article in Frankly Speaking each month to keep you better informed about our accomplishments and upcoming events.

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Founding Precept: Service

“The College, itself, the product of philanthropy, should find ways to contribute to its community… with services natural for it as an educational institution. Policies must be maintained that support these outcomes.” – Statement of Founding Precepts for Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Greetings from the SERV board! With the start of the new semester, we are encouraging you to use SERV (Support, Encourage, and Recognize Volunteerism) as a resource and make community service a part of your routine.

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