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Service panel highlights student and alumni experiences
Kramer (left), Stein (middle) and Paranjpe (right) spoke in Lower Flat Tuesdays about their summer service experiences on a discussion panel hosted by The Retriever. Photo by Winston Zhou.

Service panel highlights student and alumni experiences

Our campus is known for prioritizing service work whether it be through on-campus opportunities, student organizations, or its own students finding opportunities independently.

On Thursday, “The Retriever” hosted the event Summer Service Reflection Panel where three UMBC students reflected on their service work over the summer of 2017.

Senior media and communications studies major Autumn Kramer spent her summer volunteering for 4K for Cancer, a program hosted by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. She cycled with a team of 30 other college students from Baltimore to San Francisco to raise money and awareness for those impacted by cancer.

While Kramer was new to the world of cycling, she nonetheless spent the majority of her spring and summer preparing for the service trip.

“Doing the 4K for cancer in general just brought to light a lot of strength within myself, and the strength within the cancer community,” said Kramer. “Service in general over the summer was just really awesome to participate in.”

As a novice cycler, the trip was arduous during the first month. However, with the aide of her team and the Ulman staff, she was able to persevere and complete her goal of reaching San Francisco.

Similarly, seasoned runner PD Stein who traveled with another 4K for Cancer team, spent over 49 days running cross country with a group of 30 other college students. Both Kramer and Stein were able to participate in 4K for Cancer, which required them to raise at least $4,500 dollars. However, the foundation accepts students at any skill level of either cycling or running, and those with a desire to help those affected by cancer and in need.

Goureesh Paranjpe, Pi Kappa Phi member and UMBC alumnus, worked with Build America through his chapter here on campus. Build America, founded by Pi Kappa Phi and part of The Ability Experience, brings college students on a six week trip to build handicap accessible amenities at summer camps across the country. Part of the fundraising money Pi Kappa Phi brothers raise is used to pay for the supplies needed to build such amenities. During his six weeks of service, Paranjpe served as a driver and also the crew chief, which put him in charge of the health and safety of his crew.

Similarly to 4K for Cancer, Build America does not require prior experience from service workers. Paranjpe and crew had the tool training and team development in advance of the trip. This method of preparation sometimes resulted in difficult scenarios for the group, like uncertainty about reaching certain deadlines.

“I’d say that over the large percentage of the time we’re doing this, the thing that brings you back and the thing that keeps you going is the camper interaction. I don’t think I can pinpoint it down to a single event; but I’d say any moment that I can hang out with the campers [was it],” said Paranjpe.

Each student, whether graduated or still attending UMBC, is a shining example of the school’s goals to create a positive influence on the world around it, and through grit and effort, each and every student can be the change that they wish to see.

Editor’s Disclosure: This event was sponsored by The Retriever.