Volunteerism important at OPSU

Goodwell, Okla.- Many Oklahoma Panhandle State University staffers, faculty, and students involve themselves with the communities in the school's service area, and helping others through volunteerism is an important part of the work ethic of the OPSU family. One way OPSU provides service to communities is through the Community Service Learning class offered in the School of Business .

Students volunteer for one of several non-profit organizations in the area, gaining first-hand experience in the day-to-day management of a public sector business. Participating students work on-site for the various companies several hours each week and earn class credit for their time and effort.

The combined efforts of OPSU and Xcel Energy make the class possible. This semester, students are working with the American Red Cross, the March of Dimes, the Texas County Election Board, the Guymon Chamber of Commerce, the Pioneer Days celebration as well as recreational functions for area youth like golf and basketball.

Scott Puryear, the Community Service Learning advisor, is very pleased with the results of the program. “With the help of Pat Rendon of Xcel, we started Community Service Learning last year, and the response from the organizations we work with has been great. The process helps them with the running of their day-to-day business and also gives the students a learning experience that goes far beyond the classroom.”

The Plains Chapter of the American Red Cross has worked with several students. According to Lori Sanders, an OPSU graduate and the chapter's Executive Director, “We've been thrilled to have these young people working for and with us. They've assisted us with many different projects and helped us greatly to expand our volunteer base.”

Sanders added that the program is beneficial to the students as well. “It's exciting to introduce the kids to the challenges of running a non-profit organization, and the benefits to them, as well as our office, have been great.”

The Community Service Learning class will continue to be an important aspect of the relationship between OPSU and the organizations in the school's service area. Puryear is available to make public presentations to groups about the program and will work with non-profit organizations who would like to participate in the Community Service Learning process. He may be contacted at 580-349-1340 or via email at scottp@opsu.edu.

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