Full-time college students may view time not devoted to friends or studies as wasteful. Although, the CUNY Service Corps provides a unique combination of experience, service and pay.
The CUNY Service Corps, which began fall of 2013, enjoys a steady growth throughout the CUNY campuses. It is located at nine CUNY schools across the five boroughs with more than 801 students working at 111 community partner organizations and 15 faculty-led projects.
“The main purpose of the CUNY Service Corps is to help students give back to their community while learning valuable skills applicable toward their major,” Cesar Oyervides-Cisneros, head of the Queens College section of the Service Corps, said. “We try to match participants up to service jobs in their area relating to their majors so that they can start applying what they’ve learned in class and turn their theoretical class work into practical experience.”
Entering the Service Corps is not easy. To be eligible, participants must be full-time students, take a minimum of 18 credits and at least a 2.5 GPA.
“The requirements to join the Corps are difficult, in my opinion, because we want to present the best of Queens College to the community,” Oyervides-Cisneros said. “The requirements should serve as motivation for those students who are almost there to give it that extra push.”
Alumni of the program, after leaving, continue to help and mentor new prospects for the Service Corps.
One club associated with the Service Corps is QC Serves. Run by former members of the program, it hosts several events on campus throughout the academic year. Among those was the Ice Cream Social, which took place on Sept. 21.
“Basically the point of the club is to engage students, on and off campus and through different volunteer opportunities as well as social events,” Taylor Blanket, president of QC Serves, said. “For many students on campus, we see that they don’t really have a place to call home, and that’s what we want to try and build for them here.”
Although, working with QC Serves is not the only option. Rohana Jo, an alum of the program, currently works with the Service Corps and educates prospective members before they begin.
“I loved my time in the Service Corps. While I was in it, I worked at a non-profit organization and was really happy where they placed me. After that I decided to stay with the Service Corps and the experience really helped to strengthen my connections with those already working in the field I want to work in one day,” Jo said.