Schools from across state complete 300 community service hours in one day

Kirsten Kearse/Staff Photographer Saginaw Valley State University student Hannah Vandongen, left, trades a clothes pin at the Super Service Saturday event in Bovee University Center. The clothes pins represented a different university from all over Michigan, which could be traded throughout the weekend.

About 130 students teamed up Saturday to complete 300 hours of community service.

The Health Professions Residential College served the campus and community by participating Saturday in Super Service Saturday, where students set out to complete 300 collective service hours in just one day.

About 130 students volunteered at various locations Saturday, including the Michigan Organization of Residence Hall Associations conference in the University Center, Central Michigan University Up All Night, Isabella Animal Shelter, the Salvation Army in Midland, the Red Cross Mobile Food Pantry in Finch Fieldhouse and the CMU Triathlon Club’s Triathlon in the Indoor Athletics Complex.

Among these students were freshmen Elise Machusko of Dearborn and Jessica Armstrong of Howell. The pair donated their time to the MORHA conference, a meeting of leaders involved in residence life on campuses across Michigan.

"Someone from MORHA came to HPRC (during) our community meeting and asked us to volunteer," Machusko said.

On-campus leaders from schools including the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University attended the conference to share ideas and network with each other.

The conference began Friday with a ceremony featuring mock rocks from each school in attendance, a keynote speaker and a silent auction.

Machusko and Armstrong volunteered four hours that night.

"The mock rock was a way of introducing their schools," Armstrong said. "They would cut songs together and choreograph dance moves. It was a lot of fun; everyone was laughing and have a good time."

The conference offered entertainment for guests including caricature drawing, a photo booth and a DJ. Machusko's favorite part about Friday's event was the inflatables.

"It was a lot of fun," she said. "It was a spirit lifter to get everybody excited for the conference."

Armstrong volunteered at the canvas station on Friday.

"We had a bunch of canvases and paint everywhere, and you got to paint your own canvas," Armstrong said. "You could either take the canvas home with you or donate it to the silent auction."

All proceeds from the silent auction went toward Kid's Food Basket, a non-profit organization from Grand Rapids that works to fight childhood hunger by providing students with bagged lunches at school. The organization has served more than 360,000 children since July 2012.

Armstrong and Machusko had two shifts Saturday beginning at 7:30 a.m. The pair spent the morning setting up rooms for the presentation of residence hall programs.

"You get to see other school's programs, and the ultimate goal is to see who has the best program," Armstrong said.

Their second shift began at 5 p.m., during which they helped set up the banquet that takes place at the end of the conference.

"(MORHA is) really upbeat and energetic," Armstrong said. "We ended up coming early and staying later."

Machusko said the conference made her want to get involved with MORHA.

"I want to get involved with (the conference), it seems cool," she said. "It's really interesting to see all of the schools come together."

Volunteers make it happen

Belleville sophomore Mark Cantrell serves as MORHA co-chair and said 25 student volunteers were present throughout the conference.

Cantrell's responsibilities included organizing the volunteers, making sure the coordinators had what they needed and kept everyone's energy high.

"I'm just facilitating everything," Cantrell said. "I've been here since 6 a.m., and I'll be here all day."

Cantrell has been involved with MORHA for three years, and he said his favorite part about the conference is fresh programming and recognition.

"I like networking with other on-campus leaders," he said. "You get to take back ideas to your campus to try out."

Cantrell said the conference wouldn't have happened without the help of on-campus resources and volunteers.

"It's a year-and-a-half process making this happen at a school," he said. "We had to send out program evaluations to people who were interested in hosting programs, and we had to use our on-campus resources to set up everything."

Every year, schools bid to host the banquet the following year, and the location of the next conference will be announced in April.