Department of Community Service finding virtual ways to keep community together

May 2, 2020

While we may not be able to help out the community in person anymore, volunteer organizations all over the country are coming together with virtual opportunities to keep the community engaged. Brandeis is no different. The Department of Community Service (DCS), along with Brandeis’ partners in the Waltham community, are continuing to offer virtual opportunities of service to keep everyone engaged, even though we may be apart.

Lucas Malo, the director of DCS, explained that he will be continuing to send out his weekly “This Week in Service” emails with new virtual opportunities, both in Waltham and beyond, he wrote to The Brandeis Hoot in an email. 

Malo explained that many of Brandeis’ community partners have reached out with a request for Brandeis students to stay involved. “Year round service and community engagement work are essential to one’s health and finding balance,” Malo wrote. “We hope to be able to engage students where they feel fulfilled and know they are helping during this difficult time.” 

The continued offering of virtual service opportunities for students “really represents why community engagement is part of every community even prior to this pandemic,” Malo wrote to The Hoot. “Community engagement should be in response to an identified community need and should align with the interest and talent of our students.” 

DCS has also created a “Virtual Weekly Challenge” that gives students the opportunity to engage with different topics including: environmental sustainability, kindness, card making, advocacy and more. New themes will be revealed each week.

They are also hosting a brunch every Wednesday for the rest of May from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. over Zoom “for students to connect and be in the community with each other and get to know staff in a casual way.” 

“We want students and our campus to know that we are active in supporting service clubs on offering new virtual service opportunities for existing programs or engaging with new opportunities that arise due to our connection to this pandemic and use of technology,” Malo wrote. 

DCS is constantly working on increasing their social media presence and ensuring that the entire Brandeis community is staying as connected as possible during this time, Malo told The Hoot.

Malo stressed the importance of sticking together as a community, especially during these difficult times because no matter who we are, we all belong to different communities. “They become our support system, outlets for us to relieve stress, to learn from, to challenge ourselves, to pass time with and much more,” he explained. “For many, Waltham and Brandeis is our home community and during this difficult time many, including myself, have an urge to be a part of that community.”

“I encourage students, when they have a moment to reflect upon their community and what role they hope to have in,” Malo wrote to The Hoot. “During these moments we all play a role in supporting and uplifting others and in doing so will learn more about ourselves.” He also encouraged students to check in with each other and make sure to support one another during these tough times. 

Students who are interested in getting involved in any virtual opportunities can check the “This Week in Service” emails or visit the DCS website to see ways that students can get involved. 

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