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Community Service Spotlighted on “Appalachian Perspective”

BOONE–An increasing number of Appalachian State University students are volunteering their time in the local community and gaining a broader education as a result.

“Appalachian Perspective” cable television program showcases “Enhancing Education Through Community Service” in its latest episode, which begins airing June 12 on local cable channels.

In the 30-minute program, Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski interviews Shari Galiardi and Jenny Koehn, coordinators of the university’s Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) office.

“Appalachian Perspective” airs locally at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays on Charter Communication’s cable channel 39, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on channel 2 and at various times on MTN’s channel 18. The program also airs in Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Newport, Winston-Salem and Hickory. “Appalachian Perspective” is a production of the Office of Public Affairs and the Department of Communication.

ACT, the campus clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities, serves hundreds of students each year. Eighty percent of Appalachian’s freshmen say they performed community service prior to coming to campus, and the university builds on that energy and commitment through organized activities coordinated through ACT.

“We talk about students ‘catching the service bug.’ We see students coming out of high school who were required to do some type of community service and were very excited about it. When they come to college, ACT provides them the opportunity to continue that experience,” explains Galiardi.

Volunteering offers students new perspectives through experiences with diverse populations and builds stronger connections to the community, says Koehn. Community service sites include a local homeless shelter, food pantry, abused women’s shelter, humane society, public schools, and retirements centers, among others.

Students also gain work experience and career skills they can list on their resumes, Koehn says. Volunteers benefit organizations by assisting with day-to-day activities, fundraising, special projects and advocacy work.

Through ACT, students can volunteer as an extracurricular activity or as part of a class through what is called service-learning. In service-learning, faculty incorporate volunteerism into a course, such as having communication students design a brochure for a non-profit agency or having art students rejuvenate a local homeless shelter with interior design skills they learned in class.

For more information on ACT, visit www.act.appstate.edu.

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