Name: Ariel Rosen
Year: Class of 2014
Hometown: Chappaqua, NY
Major: Public Health
Minors: Spanish and Psychology
I could go on and on listing the characteristics of Johns Hopkins that make it different from other universities. Students here are exceptionally crazy about lacrosse, and we’ve all found ourselves screaming, “One, two, three, four, we want more!” on the sidelines dozens of times. There is no other university that even comes close to some of our academic programs, ranging from those departments in humanities, engineering, and sciences. Although I am not positive, I also doubt any other university has FFC apple pie and “granogurt” even remotely as good as ours (seriously, things like that do matter). And finally, the community service opportunities at Hopkins are incomparable and have exceeded my highest expectations.
At Hopkins, my absolute favorite thing in the world is volunteering in Baltimore. Some of my friends here don’t quite understand why I love volunteering so much, and they make fun of me for wanting to save the world. Part of me loves community service for the selfish reasons. Volunteering is refreshing. It reenergized me. It gives my days more purpose and meaning. It allows me to explore my passions and discover new interests. I am able to meet diverse people that I would have never crossed paths with otherwise.
However, an even bigger part of me loves community service because I believe that, if done the right way, community service can have lasting impacts on others. Volunteering gives communities hope where hope is needed. Making real, tangible differences in people’s lives is truly the greatest thing in the world. I believe all people have a responsibility to give back to their community. It is much, much more about the personal connection and the relationship you build with others than the “class” of people you are helping. I can truly say that I have loved volunteering at Hopkins because of the close bonds I have formed with some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met. I promise that anyone that comes to Hopkins will find countless ways they can impact the greater Baltimore community.
All of the community service groups at Hopkins are housed by the Center for Social Concern (jhu.edu/csc). Taken straight from the website, “the Center for Social Concern emphasizes the value of service with others, rather than the commonly accepted concept of service to others”- an idea that accurately reflects the mindset of our volunteers. The Center for Social Concern is in charge of over sixty community service groups on campus, community-based federal work-study programs, community-based learning (CBL) opportunities, and it assists with the Hopkins Social Innovation Program. As well, it is in charge of the community impact internship program (during the summer) and the alternative break programs (during intersession and Spring break).
I am on the Student Advocacy Board of the Center for Social Concern, which I absolutely love! It is only October, yet it would take me forever to write about all that we have done so far this year. One of our most exciting projects is the establishment of after-school music programs at Abbottston Elementary School. My friend, Hannah, and I are working hard to implement and design these programs. We have been meeting with the new principal of the school and the greater Homewood community leader to establish these programs. This is an enormous achievement for the school, as these will be the first free after-school programs ever offered there. Other SAB projects have included planning the president’s day of service and mini-day of service, designing a mural tour of Baltimore, advancing the CBL initiative, advertising and painting banners, planning events at Nolans, expanding the profile of each CSC group, and much more. If you have any more questions about what we do, feel free to stop by the office!
Besides being on the Student Advisory Board, I am involved in the Tutorial Project and Healthy Community Initiative. The Tutorial Project is definitely the Center for Social Concern’s largest and most established club. It is a tutoring service where elementary school children receive one-on-one help in reading, writing, and math from Hopkins students. As an organizer, I have the lovely opportunity to get to know all of the kids in the program, ride the bus with them, and go to their houses for testing and get a sense of their life at home. I absolutely love being on the executive team and I love all of the other organizers! Also, I am a member of Healthy Community Initiative. I lead workshops on nutrition and wellbeing and lead food demonstrations to parents and children at Waverly Elementary School. My freshman year, I was also involved in Habitat for Humanity, another great organization. The Center for Social Concern has volunteer opportunities in a plethora of areas, including the arts, technology, music, computers, tutoring, sports, language, nutrition, and health- so there is definitely something for everyone.
On a final note, it is true that college students often get caught up in their own lives and stay within their “campus bubble”. However, it is worthy to note that after I get back from studying for my Spanish midterm, reading articles for my sociology class, and watching several episodes of “The Wire” for my public health class (alright, the last one is actually really enjoyable), I am happy to end each day knowing that I also reached out to the surrounding community and did some good for humanity. You should definitely take advantage of all that Hopkins has to offer. The Center for Social Concern is loaded with incredible opportunities to give back to Baltimore, and it truly makes Hopkins a unique, one-of-a-kind university.