As Ghandi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I definitely think Gandhi was on to something here, as so many at CUA grow and learn about themselves and the world by participating in service. There are so many ways to give back to the community. Living in Washington, D.C., there is no shortage of people needing and deserving of help. Read more to find out about the various service activities you can be involved in at CUA.
Twice annually, hundreds of CUA students participate in both the Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 9/11 Days of Service. These are huge scale, national days of service in which everyone is invited to take time and reflect on the life of MLK and the lives of those who gave so much for our country’s freedom on 9/11. During these days, CUA students are split up throughout the city of Washington, D.C. Whether you are given the chance to pick up litter on the National Mall or speak with our nation’s veterans, every moment counts toward making the District a better place. I personally love participating in these days. It is a beautiful reminder of what a special place CUA is and how many caring people attend this university.
In addition to large service days, there are weekly service opportunities as well. Students are given a chance to volunteer their time as many times as they wish throughout the week. Right across from CUA is a Little Sisters of the Poor residence home in which CUA students are invited to have dinner with residents, paint their nails, and even play the Wii! Another weekly activity is the homeless food runs. Students are invited to take leftover food from the dining halls downtown to where homeless people live in parks and on the streets. Though I have never personally been on one of these trips, I hear it is the most humbling and fulfilling experience. Another wildly popular option on campus is either the DC Reads or Jumpstart programs. Both programs allow CUA students to tutor youth in the area in various subjects including English, math, and science.
Another great thing about CUA is that each and every student organization is required to do service hours! If you are a member of any organization, ranging from Student Government to club sports to cultural clubs to even Greek life, you are automatically given the task to complete a certain number of service hours per year. This is a great way to get to know others in your organization, make great memories, and give back while doing so.
One of the most amazing aspects of the student experience here at CUA may be a Mission Trip. CUA offers trips over spring and summer breaks to various locations to help people in need in other parts of the world. Each year, about 65 students are in attendance on these trips. This coming spring and summer, Campus Ministry is offering trips to Belize, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. The trip to Costa Rica is a joint trip with students from Duke University- how cool! It is so amazing that Campus Ministry offers these trips. Often times, there are waitlists because the spots fill up so quickly to go. CUA students love to give back. Additionally, over Spring Break, Habitat for Humanity typically hosts three trips to locations across America. This year, due to high demand for these trips, a FOURTH location was added. Students will be travelling to Tacoma, Washington, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Atlanta, Georgia, and Wayne, West Virginia.
Serving others is in our nature as human beings. Being at CUA, you are given every chance to help change the world on a small and large scale. Please visit service.cua.edu to read more about service that CUA’s students participate in.
– Lexie Mayewski