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OSU student group pays it forward with week of community service

Iliana Corfias / Lantern reporter

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Legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once said, “You can never pay back, but you can always pay forward.”
Students, staff and employees at OSU were given the opportunity last week to fulfill Hayes’ vision.
To connect students to community agencies and opportunities, Pay It Forward, formerly known as ServeCorps, and the Center for Student Leadership and Service hosted Pay It Forward Week April 23-27.
“We wanted a way to connect the campus to the Pay It Forward movement to expose students to a wide variety of community service opportunities,” said Joe Flarida, a fourth-year in political science and public affairs and chair of Pay It Forward Week.
Pay It Forward partnered with 17 service agencies including Columbus Metropolitan Library, COSI, Children’s Hunger Alliance and Community Refugee and Immigration Services to end the week with a service fair.
“The week’s efforts are a great step in the right direction in terms of the way to get students more involved in not only the campus community, but in the Columbus community as a whole,” said Matthew Yannie, volunteer assistant manager for United Way of Central Ohio. “I hope students become, if not involved, at least aware of the opportunities in the community.”
With the struggle to get students to commit, Flarida had to cancel two of the eight events scheduled for the week.
“It is unfortunate, but I think it is sadly part of the culture of working through community service events, to get students to commit and to come out to volunteer in general.”
Sara Muschkin, a second-year in nutrition, and Chloe Hernane, a first-year in biology, were two students who found the time.
“I feel like everyone at some point definitely needs to go out and volunteer in the community,” Hernane said. “If you are so fortunate enough to go to a school like this and you have the opportunities, why not take them?”
Events throughout the week featured a sandwich making event, after-school programming with an emphasis on education and an event to combat hunger.
At the event Sandwiches in a Snap, students helped make about 400 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for local shelters. On Tuesday afternoon, about 55 students volunteered with after-school programs to promote a day of education.
Another event sent 15 students to the Clintonville Resource Center to assist in handing out food for Hunger Day.
With the week full of opportunities to pay it forward, Flarida said he thinks the costs were well worth it.
“For the whole week we spent $2,300, which was relatively inexpensive for as many events as we did,” Flarida said.
Muschkin said the price didn’t matter because “you can’t put a price on helping people.”

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