Kernodle Center’s ‘Get on the Bus’ program invites students to dip their toes into service

The Kernodle Center for Civic Life offers the program as a chance for students to learn more about service opportunities at Elon.

Elon University offers a myriad of service opportunities, from hour-long shifts at Campus Kitchen to overnight volunteer events with Alternative Breaks. However, for students who are just looking to get started with service at Elon, the Kernodle Center for Civic Life has designed a program that makes it easy for students to dip their toes into volunteering.

Flyer for the 2022 Get on the Bus program“Get on the Bus” is a service event that is offered to all Elon students during the first eight weeks of the fall semester. On select Friday afternoons, a campus bus will take students to one of the Kernodle Center’s community partners for an afternoon of service. Up to 20 students can attend each event. These events are geared toward students who may not have access to transportation or would like to engage with a community partner, but do not know how to get started.

“While not every student who attends a Get on the Bus opportunity continues to volunteer at that site, the goal is that students would be able to engage meaningfully with the community and possibly continue getting involved with volunteer opportunities throughout the remainder of the school year,” said Sadie Richey, the graduate apprentice for the Kernodle Center.

Throughout the fall semester, the Get on the Bus opportunities are taking students to the Boys and Girls Club, Peacehaven Farm and the City Gate Dream Center. The program will close out its fall offerings on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the City Gate Dream Center, with students helping out with the distribution of diapers donated during a diaper drive to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

While these organizations usually do not have the capacity to host larger groups, they work with the Kernodle Center to create events that they can invite more students to. ​Get on the Bus was curated to allow students to easily access volunteer opportunities in the community.

“We want these opportunities to be mutually beneficial for partners and students,” said Richey. “In serving with a particular partner, students are able to critically reflect on the impact their service has on the partner, as well as the impact the partner has on the student.”

Many students who have participated in Get on The Bus in previous years have gone on to work with the partners on a deeper level. Although this program is only offered during the fall semester, students who are interested in getting involved with community partners can find a variety of opportunities on Phoenix Serve, Elon’s community engagement platform connected with Phoenix Connect.

Students are also able to reach out to Elon Volunteers to explore service opportunities offered on campus and in the community.