By Amy Moff Hudec
Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down. Faculty, staff, and students are working from our kitchen tables, some of us trying to help our children finish up their school year through “distance learning,” and all of us trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in our lives. While we are all unsure of how to make the best of the situation, one similarity among us has emerged — we want to help! We want to figure out what can be done to create some relief in lives of those around us — our friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers.
As an administrator at the university, working in the Office of Community Service Learning (CSL), I have never been more aware of the value of community engagement. For decades, the University of Redlands has been preparing our students for this very situation. We have created an ethos that makes it the norm to “do good” in the world.
Clubs and organizations enthusiastically spend tens of thousands of hours each year, serving the larger Redlands community. Professors support their students as they travel the country and the world engaging with and providing sustenance and care to those who are the most vulnerable. Students across the university work tirelessly in nonprofit agencies across Southern California to earn their work award. And, of course, hundreds of students volunteer each year with our partnering agencies and schools through the many programs we run — such as Big Buddies, CHAMPS, Jasper’s Corner, and Roots and Shoots, to name a few. Alumni often look back on their volunteer experiences at the U of R with great fondness and regularly participate in service projects, even inviting our students to join them on occasion.
With all this preparation, it is no wonder that our alumni, staff, faculty, and students are feeling called to help during this crisis. Phone calls, emails, and messages on social media to the CSL office have been plentiful over the past few weeks, and the question is always the same — “What can I do?” We in CSL are so proud to receive these inquiries, and we can’t wait to get back to business so we can send Bulldogs out into the field once again to make a difference in the lives of others.
Until that moment comes, we have some suggestions for those who have been asking.