“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Such is the message on the top of USF’s BullSERVE website but the change not mentioned is the boost in the volunteer’s immune system. One of the university’s least known volunteer efforts aims for an increase in the student’s community involvement; while helping their health.
BullSERVE’s participant coordinator Katelin Kaiser feels that the contact with food and different environments may have something to do with an increased immune system among volunteers.
“You kind of get desensitized to those different germs and things,” Kaiser said. “It may be because we are so exposed to different types of germs.”
It is not just the volunteer’s immune system that is being helped. According to the June 2001 edition of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, experimental results show that volunteer work enhances the six aspects of well-being: happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem and sense of control over life, over physical health, and over depression.
Biomedical science major Neeta Ghanekar says she feels good about how being a part of BullSERVE since January has not only improved her internal health but also enhanced her self-esteem.
“I feel like I have been more positive,” Ghanekar said. “I feel more grateful for the life I have had,”
BullSERVE is a community service organization focused on getting students involved in the long term efforts, and, in turn, providing long term enhancement of each volunteer’s well-being.
“When I realized that the three hours I committed each Friday would help provide food for a family or a single mother or someone who can’t afford food, it really made an impact on me,” Kaiser said. “I can afford to go buy food and go to Starbucks but when you’re sorting through food that was donated from Publix or Sweetbay, you think, ‘Wow, this food would’ve been thrown out if this service wasn’t here.’”
The bigger picture is that BullSERVE focuses on helping the community and students want to make a difference in the community. Striving to make both parties feel good about what they are doing is the ultimate goal, and volunteers are even improving their health without even realizing it.