Sophomores seek service opportunities amidst pandemic

While the deadline has been extended, sophomores still struggle to find service hours due to COVID-19 restrictions

Simon+Assefa+said%2C+We+have+led+community+members+in+the+work+of+unearthing+thousands+of+racial+covenants+that+reserved+land+for+the+exclusive+use+of+white+people.

Hazel Waltenbaugh

Simon Assefa said, “We have led community members in the work of unearthing thousands of racial covenants that reserved land for the exclusive use of white people.”

The sophomore service requirements have been altered this year, giving students more time to find volunteering opportunities amidst the challenges presented by the pandemic. The requirement deadline has adapted so only 6 hours were required by Jan.29, the day of the sophomore retreat. The final 6 hours, for a total of 12, need to be logged by the end of spring break, Apr. 4.

Tenth graders have struggled to find opportunities as many businesses are closed, in less need of help, or because they want to limit their own risk due to COVID-19. To help guide those who need more hours, the Sophomore Class Leadership Council has put together a list of pandemic-safe, digital opportunities.

Some students have already started their volunteering but have struggled to find more opportunities as COVID-19 restrictions intensify.

“I went to this place called House of Charity in downtown Minneapolis, and we would clean tables and trays and prepare food for the homeless,” sophomore Simon Assefa said. “I did some of my hours there, but I wasn’t able to get all 12 hours because COVID got worse, so now I guess I have to find something to do online. I heard about this thing called mapping prejudice, which is online so there aren’t any covid restrictions, which is nice.”

We have led community members in the work of unearthing thousands of racial covenants that reserved land for the exclusive use of white people.”

— Simon Assefa

Mapping Prejudice is an University of Minnesota project that seeks to expose structural racism in how our communities own and sell land. “We have led community members in the work of unearthing thousands of racial covenants that reserved land for the exclusive use of white people. This allowed us to build a map that shows how these racial restrictions were embedded in the physical landscape” according to the site. Volunteer work can be done 100% from home.

Other students have found service alternatives though personal connections.

“I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House to prepare to-go bags for families,” sophomore Riley Erben said. “It was definitely harder since there were a lot of safety issues, but I was able to get this opportunity through a connection I had to the board of the Ronald McDonald house, so it wasn’t super hard for me to find hours.”

It was definitely harder since there were a lot of safety issues, but I was able to get this opportunity through a connection I had to the board of the Ronald McDonald house, so it wasn’t super hard for me to find hours.”

— Riley Erben

Many students have been trying to reduce their own risk by volunteering from home, and online, which can sometimes be easier in regards to scheduling and free time.

“I helped pack craft bags for kids at my temple,” sophomore Lilith Greene-Friedman said, “We were supposed to do it as a group, but because of COVID, I ended up doing it by myself at home. I still need six more hours, but it’s hard to find places that are open right now, and I don’t want to do anything online because of how much time I’ve already been spending on my computer.”

Students can reach out to Dean Thornberry or SoCLC if they need more direction.