Many organizations are just beginning to get into the swing of things, but Student Voluntary Services began working the week before classes started.

SVS held its annual Welcome Week service project at Second Harvest Food Bank, which supplies food to food pantries, and the YWCA.

Approximately 30 students were in attendance, which SVS president MacKenzie Espich said is average for the event. She said she hopes students use volunteering as an opportunity to get active in the Muncie community.

“I think [volunteering] gives you ... a greater sense of purpose,” said Espich, a senior social work major. “You’re taking yourself out of your comfort zone, and you’re growing. You’re understanding the community and itself, more than just you. ... Instead of just being a student at Ball State, they are a member of the community of Muncie.”

SVS pairs with more than 40 organizations in Muncie to give students the opportunity to participate in independent and coordinated programs.

“We’re a collaborative group,” Espich said. “We’re so willing to change and grow. I think that people probably get nervous when they hear our thing because volunteering is scary — it’s getting out of your comfort zone — especially freshmen. ... I would want them to know that we’re here to help them. We’re here to make their experience at Ball State more than just being students and to actually become a member of this community for the next four years of their college career. “

Independent programs require students to drive themselves to the places they are volunteering and track their own hours, while SVS just gets the students in touch with the organization. For coordinated programs, SVS has program coordinators that get students to the places they are volunteering at a scheduled time each week and track their hours.

Junior social work major Amber Juday serves as a program coordinator and has worked with the Muncie Children’s Museum for the past year and a half.

“I definitely feel like I’ve made an impact on the Muncie community,” Juday said. “I’ve definitely made a lot of strong connections with the people that work at the museum. I just feel like I made a difference when I came here. It wasn’t that I just moved here for school. I actually came here and contributed to the community I now live in.”

In addition to these programs, SVS also holds one-time events. These are larger events that focus on one specific organization and tend to have a theme.

“The one-time events are nice for people who don’t have time to commit to a weekly program but still want to give back to the community,” said Madison Lyon, SVS vice president.

The next one-time event SVS is hosting is the 9/11 Day of Service, which will be held Sept. 10 and will memorialize the tragic 2001 event.

For those looking to get involved sooner but who may not know where to start, the SVS recruitment fair will be held Aug. 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. Students will have the chance to learn more about SVS and meet more than 30 of the organizations SVS partners with to bring these volunteer opportunities.