December 14, 2006      
 
Community Spirit

One aspect seldom mentioned about Bishop’s is the tremendous impact our students have in Lennoxville and surrounding communities. Although community service is not mandatory for our students, one might think it is when reviewing some volunteer efforts of Bishop’s students.

One of the largest organizations on campus is Big Buddies, a program which matches over 85 Bishop’s students with little buddies from the community. Group events are held during the semester, but the big buddies are also expected to be in contact with or visit their little buddy at least once per week. The Best Buddies program involves 15 to 20 Bishop’s students who develop friendships with community members with intellectual disabilities. Students have also raised close to $3000 to support individuals in the community. In fact, this support covered the travel costs for a buddy to compete in the Special Olympics last summer.

Over 20 students are involved in the Bishop’s University Mentoring and Tutoring group which provides a fun and positive learning environment for local students seeking extra help with school work. Many more coach sports teams in local elementary and high schools. The women’s basketball team also runs a Saturday morning program called Small Ball – basketball for children aged 6 - 11.

Students of the Bishop’s University Environmental Club organize an entire environmental focused weekend each fall. Community clean-ups, awareness programs, and hazardous waste drop-off days make up some of their programs, and each spring the popular Rock for Recycle (or the River) takes place to raise awareness.

Bishop’s students also lend a supportive hand to a number of charities in Lennoxville and abroad. Over the past twelve months student-initiated campaigns or activities have taken place to support United Way/Centraide, Canadian Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Research, the Lennoxville Elementary Christmas Basket Program, the Lennoxville and District Women’s Centre, Operation Shoebox, a food drive for Moisson Estrie, and a blood drive. Students have also raised money to help with efforts following Hurricane Katrina, for child victims of the August flood in Ethiopia and for AIDS victims in Tanzania.

“I often hear the comment that students are apathetic,” says Bruce Stevenson, Dean of Student Affairs. “My experience, especially with our Golden Key International Honor Society, has shown me that students do give back a great deal, supporting each other, local and global communities. The Bishop's Golden Key Chapter was awarded a US$500 Chapter Service Grant (one of ten recipients out of 350 chapters) for their English Conversational Meetings Program with the Sherbrooke Police."

The three Greek organizations are all also involved in community service; in fact as part of their charter each one supports an international philanthropic organization The Alpha Delta Phi sorority raises funds for Ronald McDonald House but is also involved in work with the Lennoxville and District Women’s Centre. The Sigma Chi fraternity supports the Children’s Miracle Network and is also involved with the Lennoxville Youth Centre and the local Meals on Wheels program. The Alpha Phi sorority support Women’s Cardiac Care and a number of other projects in the Lennoxville community.

Some academic courses do include a component of community outreach. An upper year course in the Williams School of Business (The Successful New Venture: Feasibility Analysis and the Management of Risk) involves teams of students providing free consulting services to local entrepreneurs and small businesses. Student teams have worked with Bull’s Head Ginger Ale, a major maple syrup producer, and Quebec Lodge, among others. In the course of a year students will work with between 20 – 30 local companies. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain real life experience,” says the course’s professor (and Bishop’s graduate) Steve Karpenko ‘84. “But it is also great for the community and the economy. The free consulting of our students helps to keep business – and jobs – in the area.”

The Bishop’s mission statement reads “Bishop’s offers students...the opportunity to exercise the rights and responsibilities of good citizenship….” A majority of our students live the mission.
 
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