The community service network JustServe became available to residents of Madison County in February 2016, according to Meridian Magazine. But there have been opportunities to serve on campus for many years.
One of the service organizations, BYU-Idaho Service Activities, does many activities all year round, including an upcoming week of service, March 19 to 24.
Lauren Johnson, more commonly known as Eljay, the student area director of Service Activities and a senior studying recreational management, spoke about service on campus.
Q: Just to start off, what is Service Activities? What do you guys do?
A: We’re a part of Student Activities, which is the great, bigger picture. And Student Activities as a whole gives students these opportunities of leadership and being involved. I always love to think about, and to quote, what Elder Bednar said when he was president; talking about how, if you come here to get an education and you just go to class, you’re doing it wrong. Education is beyond that. It’s more than secular, it’s being involved and so, in Service Activities, we help people be involved through service. Our mission statement is: giving students those opportunities to become disciple leaders through service.
Q: What was it that got you initially involved? Was it friends or was it looking for something to do?
A: Maybe both, and you know, it obviously happens differently for everyone and that’s what’s so wonderful. But for me personally, in the end, it really was just kind of that initiative, of I just had that desire, like all of us especially as church members, to serve.
Q: So, how do you guys find events?
A: We try to use everything that we’re aware of. We are using JustServe. We actually go to our … City Council meetings. We are right there with the leaders and business owners and everyone, and they tell us what’s going on and how we can help. Currently — at this last one — we got a huge list of things to do and to add.
We also have on-campus groups and stewardships that work with different programs on campus on projects or where there’s a need that’s already happened, and we just supply the students or take it under their wing.
Q: How are you going to do the service for a week?
A: We already have our weekly events that we have going throughout the semester that will be there. We’re just trying to increase the amount of service in our community and on campus by ten times the amount of service that we normally do. We have these huge lists of new opportunities that we haven’t even done before, and we’re still even looking for more. We just hope that the students represent and really come out hungry to serve and ready and that we get that to fill. Because right now the need is there, and so we just need the students and the bodies and the instruments to get it going.
Q: So, let’s say that there’s a student: They want to do service, but they’re on the fence about how to do it or how to go about it. What would you say to do?
A: As cheesy as it sounds, the first thing in my mind: follow your heart. But in the end, a gospel-centered perspective, it is following the Spirit.
Service, as I’ve mentioned, comes in any form. And this school is so inspired and so wonderful that any area — it doesn’t have to have the title “service” — but there’s service involved in it. There’s so much that we do just to be able to help others and of our own free will. So, just having and creating that service-oriented heart within yourself — anything they do or start to involve themselves in — they’ll see that they’re making a difference.
But, if they do want to come and have this organized, wonderful experience with Service Activities, I’m advising them to come every Tuesday night. Just show up on a Tuesday night in the MC Special Events Room on the third floor at six o’clock and we can explain even more to them of how to get started because there’s a variety of wonderful service opportunities and activities that their wonderful fellow students can help get them involved in.