Students picking up trash for community service.

Selfless Service is the GOAL

Written by Gladys Oster

At over twelve thousand average hours per year, Hillsdale is ranked ninth in the nation for the most volunteer hours logged during the school year. A majority of these hours come from students’ participation in the Great Opportunities for Assistance and Leadership (GOAL) program. GOAL includes twenty-one volunteer programs and organizations that streamline volunteer activities to Hillsdale students, and behind each of these is a student leader who organizes events, coordinates volunteer opportunities with students, and offers their own time to volunteer at the organization.

What does it take to be one of these extraordinary leaders?

Joshua Bailey, ’19, is the leader of A Few Good Men, a volunteer program that services elderly, disabled, and low-income households. Joshua recalls an experience he had through Hillsdale’s volunteer programs: “There is an elderly gentleman in town that we have helped prepare to move out east. One time when we went out to help him, I was asking him about his family and reasons for moving. He shared some difficult health struggles his wife had been having. My co-leader, Andrew Sheard, and I took some time to pray for him. I just remember seeing his tear-filled eyes when we had finished. He was incredibly touched that we took the time to care. I still catch up with him every time I see him. It showed me why this type of service matters so very much.”

Lucille Townley, ’19, director of GOAL programs, says, “Student leaders need to be passionate about their program, as they will be investing at least seventy-five hours each semester to manage and volunteer with their program.” Leaders also recruit students to volunteer with their community organization, maintain community contacts, fundraise, help log hours, and work with other GOAL leaders.

Sarah Becker, ’19, has been volunteering through the GOAL Hospital Volunteering program since her freshman year. “My first year, I volunteered in the Hillsdale Hospital Obstetrics Department, where I had the privilege of watching my first live birth. Over the years, volunteering has challenged me to see the difficult and beautiful realities of human community in a new light.”

Caroline Andrews, ’19, leader of the Community Sports program, says, “I love coaching a team of third- to sixth-grade girls every year, as I get the chance to come to know them well over several weeks together. They start out very shy but are always laughing, joking, and giving me hugs by the time the season ends. It’s amazing how much the kids really look up to and love all of their coaches.”

GOAL leaders go above and beyond their job descriptions to apply the knowledge they’ve gained from Hillsdale College to the Hillsdale community.

Gladys Oster, ’22, plans to study psychology and journalism at Hillsdale. In her free time, she loves to read murder mysteries and eat dark-chocolate covered pretzels.

Published in April 2019