International students participate in day of service

Ahmed Alturki hands off items at the Habitat Restore. Vanguard Photo | Matt Hintz

New international students participated in a day of service Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Saginaw Art Museum.

The event served to introduce students to the “core Cardinal value” of community service, said Stacy Stremlow, an international admissions coordinator for the Office of International and Advanced Studies (OIAS).

The idea was a result of an office retreat featuring a presentation by J.J. Boehm, the director of Community and Media Relations.

“The presentation from (Boehm) sparked an idea,” Stremlow said. “Instead of just talking about what the university stands for, I really wanted new students to experience for themselves what the University believes in.”

She felt that having a day of service during international student orientation would help accomplish this goal.

“Whether a student is from a different region or a different country, non-academic programs like this can dramatically improve a student’s experience,” Stremlow said. These programs offer a shared experience with their peers and help to build lasting connections outside the classroom.”

For the event, SVSU partnered with the Underground Railroad, The Saginaw Art Museum and the Habit for Humanity Restore. Before the event, OIAS also asked students and faculty to donate school supplies to the Underground Railroad. The Saginaw Art Museum hosted the day of service.

“The museum offered to host us for the day of this event, and from there we reached out to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, which is only a few blocks away from the museum,” Stremlow said.

Riley Hupfer, the director of The Center for Community Engagement, helped OIAS contact Crystal Sanders from the Underground Railroad.

“It was truly a community effort to get this idea off the ground, but when you live in a great community like ours, wonderful things happen easily,” Stremlow said.

During the event, students completed different service projects.

“Students rotated between three projects focused on different categories of service – environmental, working in the garden of the museum; social services and advocacy, packaging hygiene kits and back-to-school kits for the Underground Railroad; and
community development, organizing and sorting at the Restore,” she said.

Stremlow said the day of service was a success. She especially enjoyed watching the student bond through community service.

“The events on Thursday went great,” she said. “Having over 40 students coming together supporting our larger Saginaw community was incredible to see. They accomplished so much and the organizations were very thankful for all the work our students did for them.”

OIAS wants to continue the event in the future.

“We hope to make this an annual event for International Student Orientation, taking place at least every fall semester but hopefully something similar for our winter semester as well,” she said.

Kaitlyn Farley

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