Portland State’s Student Leaders for Service kicked off its new “First Friday” program last week with a trip to Scrap, a local nonprofit organization that encourages arts and sustainability through what they call “creative reuse.”
Portland State’s Student Leaders for Service kicked off its new “First Friday” program last week with a trip to Scrap, a local nonprofit organization that encourages arts and
sustainability through what they call “creative reuse.”
By accepting donated arts materials, Scrap hopes to both decrease waste and reinject the Portland community with arts projects and programs for children and local artists. Scrap hosts workshops and community events and chooses a local school to sponsor each year with the goods they receive.
In addition to used paintbrushes and rolls of fabric, Scrap often gets boxes full of highly unorganized, dirty and unmanageable goods.
“We get weird, random boxes filled with stuff like half-broken fencing equipment, or one time, the entire inside of a grand piano,” Scrap Store Manager Stephanie Weber said.
Because of this, and because of the fact that most of Scrap’s staff are volunteers, the organizational process can be overwhelming.
Nine PSU students met with Weber on Friday to help sanitize and organize Scrap’s donations room. Upon arrival, they found tables overflowing with yarn, clothing and scraps of fabric.
Ailene Farkac, a social work major, helped sort a box filled with hundreds of greeting cards.
“Not only am I a new student, but this is my first trip with [SLS]—I had been searching for student groups to get involved with as soon as I got to campus, and SLS does exactly what I want to do,” she said.
Friday’s SLS event at Scrap was partly coordinated by Katie Hoyt, a community development major, SLS member and part-time Scrap employee.
Hoyt helped shed light on the work students typically find themselves doing through SLS, which can range from short volunteer trips like Friday’s event to the group’s annual alternative spring break program, which sends PSU students all over the West Coast to work with homeless shelters and Habitat for Humanity.
This year SLS is initiating a new monthly program they have dubbed “First Fridays,” in which members visit a local nonprofit organization for a half-day of service once a month.
This, to member and music education major Linse Sullivan, helps get students more involved than the longer daily commitments SLS’s other events often entail.
“I’m excited,” she said. “This is a really good turnout—and it’s our first First Friday.”
In addition to volunteering in and around Portland, one of SLS’s goals is to engage student leaders through interaction with their community in the hopes of preparing future civic leaders for service.
On the bus ride to and from most of their events, students are led in a period of reflection—an activity that gives their work context and presents an opportunity for team-building.
But not all students involved with SLS are seeking full-time work or experience in community development. Some, according to Hoyt, are just looking for ways to help others, and maybe even have a little fun.
With the monthly half-day commitment of the First Friday program, students may get the opportunity to do just that. Still, Hoyt hopes the goals of SLS will resonate regardless of the level of student involvement.
“Don’t be afraid to get involved,” she said. “It not only does good for your community, but it inspires you and makes you a better person in the end.”
Students interested in volunteering should stop by the SLS office in Smith Memorial Student Union, room M113C, or visit pdx.edu/cae/student-leaders-for-service.