Coe College - Center for Community Engagement

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ICAP: Emmy Laing

My name is Emmy Laing, and I am a junior majoring in psychology and neuroscience. This is also my first year as an ICAP! I got to know Kayla [Lyftogt] through working in the Office of Community Engagement here at Coe, and she approached me with an opening for becoming an ICAP, and suggested it would be a great fit for me. When she told me it was a commitment of 300 hours of community service, I’ll admit I was intimidated. But as we talked more, I realized that it would be very doable, especially since it lined up very well with my job in Community Engagement. Service has always been something I am passionate about. I was very involved in service projects before coming to college, but wasn’t as involved when I got to Coe because I wasn’t aware of what opportunities there were or how to get involved. I figured this would be a really great way to remind myself why I love volunteering so much, as well as be a part of a program that keeps me accountable for the hours.

ICAPs get to choose a work site, and because I was working through the Office of Community Engagement, I decided to keep that as my site. Technically, what I do is campus development. I work with another student and the Program Coordinator and Director of the office. We do a very wide variety of things, from planning and executing service projects, communicating with students and campus, and reaching out to community partners. I have helped plan events such as the “We are MOUNDVIEW” Neighborhood Clean Up, the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, the MLK Day Service Project, and the BetterWorldBooks Drive.

We are currently looking to start a Service Ambassadors program, so I have been doing a lot of research on comparable schools to find a model that could work for us. I’d also like to see Coe students being more willing to volunteer, and more commitment to long term service and community engagement. To measure this, we sent out a student survey to measure their service involvement and interest, and looked at results to try to improve these areas.

My daily activities include keeping track of available on- and off-campus service projects, sending campus emails, brainstorming ideas for new projects, aiding students in smaller aspects of their independent service projects, and planning and participating in campus service events. I have also done a lot of reorganizing and updating the Coe Community Engagement website, and posting on our social media pages.

I’d like to add an off-campus aspect to my ICAP hours, but I am currently doing and internship as well, so my off-campus pursuits may have to wait until next year. My interests lie in health and psychology, so I’m hoping to add some service in a hospital or care setting, which would benefit me with relevant experience for my future career.

My favorite event so far was the MLK Day service project. In the office, we were worried the attendance wouldn’t be very high. But, almost 50 people came to the event, and we were able to assemble about 175 bookmarks for Gems of Hope and about 175 trail mix bags for the Ronal McDonald Room at St. Luke’s. I was taken aback by the students in attendance and how quickly they worked! We ran out of supplies, and it was great to see a part of Coe’s community giving back.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about being an ICAP is that organizations and communities really do benefit from the engagement of volunteers. This position has allowed me to see the tangible, measureable outcomes of community projects, as well as be a part of the planning and process of these events. It is so cool to see students come up with an idea, and then watch them implement it, and see the results. I have been amazed by the drive of students and their passion for the causes they love. There are so many students on our campus doing amazing projects, and I don’t think I would have known about them without my ICAP position in the Office of Community Engagement.

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