Working in class to get good grades - all students do it. Going to work to afford to go to Sacramento State - some students do it.
How many of us work for the benefit of the community? The opportunity is there for everyone and it doesn't cost a dime.
Sac State Serves is part of the university's Community Engagement Center and gives people a chance to get involved with volunteer work during the semester.
"We provide an opportunity to volunteer without having experience," said Sac State Serves Coordinator Misty Garcia. "It's the only program that I know of that brings students, faculty and alumni together."
Sac State Serves is a good program to try volunteer work for the first time since there are no long-term commitments necessary. More than 1,000 people are on Sac State Serves' mailing list.
Some have volunteered in multiple events and others decided it was not for them.
Part of being in college is new experiences and finding new interests. Dedication to others is the sole focus in life for countless people throughout the world.
President Barack Obama declared Sunday as both a day of service and remembrance of the 9/11 attacks. Sunday has come and gone but opportunities to serve are available throughout the year.
Sac State Serves hosts an event once a month and the first chance to volunteer is on Saturday. The Great American River Cleanup at the American River Parkway will give people the chance to remove garbage from polluting the water and helping protect wildlife from eating poisonous materials.
Garcia said more than 110 students have already signed up to volunteer their time, more than any other Sac State Serves event in years.
If cleaning garbage does not sound appealing, Sac State Serves is looking for volunteers to work with children in October and veterans in November.
Those who have hectic schedules this semester and don't have the time during the semester but want to help can sign up for Alternative Break, where people can volunteer for just a day or work an entire week. Alternative Break also offers the chance to get management experience by signing up to be a team leader.
Having leadership experience is an valuable trait for anybody.
Spending time cleaning or helping strangers who could use some assistance in their daily lives for free is a self-fulfilling experience that can be much more valuable than money.
Getting involved with charitable causes can lead to establishing connections with people one might not normally come across.
Unfortunately, many on campus have never heard of Sac State Serves due to its limited visible presence on campus. Tucked away on the fourth floor of the University Library, potential volunteers simply don't ever hear of the events taking place.
Some events have a limited amount of students who can attend while others need as many people as possible.
A permanent location with more visibility in the future is needed to increase the awareness of the program on campus. A simple kiosk in The Well promoting volunteer work would help spread attention about the benefits of volunteering.
Whether it be through Associated Students Inc., a club or Greek organization helping out, there needs to be more promotion of Sac State Serves on campus. Students should see notices of the events while walking through the University Union and the Well.
"We need to use money wisely," Garcia said of Sac State Serves' limited budget. "We can't promote as much as we'd like or spend money on banners."
If students can see who won the latest table tennis and pool tournaments on campus every five minutes on monitors everywhere, the opportunity to get involved in worthwhile endeavors can be shown.
Having more than 110 students commit for the first event this semester is great, but there is the potential for so many more to contribute. Students would be far more involved if there was more exposure on campus about the cleanup leading up to Saturday.
People wanting to help locally can also find other local organizations that need volunteers if they can't make events involving Sac State Serves.
Sacramento's Ronald McDonald House needs people to help keep the grounds clean and has partnered with Sac State Serves in the past.
Sacramento's Loaves and Fishes needs people to help cook for hundreds of people every month.
In a time when fewer people can donate money to different causes, giving a day to a worthy cause is needed now more than ever.
Spending a few hours a day mentoring can have a tremendous impact in a person's life, especially with troubled youth. There can never be too many people willing to help.
Giving time and energy for the good of others not only enhances Sac State's image as a university where its students care, it gives individuals a sense of pride and self-respect for putting others first.
The opinion staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org