Rewarding experiences come from class projects

by Gillian Hurtt–

animal shelter

Christiansburg, V.a., Oct. 10 – Successful Supply Drive: After a day of volunteering at the shelter, our group spent two hours outside a Kroger collecting donation items. We collected a great deal more than expected. Photo: Dave Sundie

When most people think about or hear the term “class project,” they don’t necessarily think of it being fun or rewarding. And nine times out of ten, they’re not. But this semester I’m enrolled in a class called “Advanced Leadership Skills” as a requirement for my Business Leadership minor.

This class is not your typical boring lecture course but instead requires each student to carry out a leadership service project. The idea of the project is to gather a group of 6 people (outside of your class) to carry out a service project that would improve someone’s life as well as enhance your leadership skills. The group also has to be diverse in age, gender, ethnicity and even major.

One of my passions is animals, so for my project I chose to serve the Friends of Animal Care and Control animal shelter in Christiansburg. The plan was twofold: 1) my group and I volunteered at the shelter where we socialized with and walked the dogs and 2) we held a supply drive at the Christiansburg Kroger, handing out donation lists to shoppers.

I had never volunteered at an animal shelter before, just because there aren’t any near me back home, but I imagine there are probably much nicer animal shelters than the one we volunteered at. It was small, old and run down. Seeing the condition the shelter was in made me sad for the dogs who spend most of their lives in cages and who look forward to getting walked because it’s the most exciting part of their days, but also grateful to the people who run the shelter despite its circumstances.

Those people have the kindest souls because what they’re doing is completely unselfish and doesn’t have many personal benefits. Volunteering there also made me vow to myself that when I get my own dog, I’m definitely going to get a rescue.

The good news is we got a ton of donated items for the shelter from the supply drive, and it was a rewarding feeling to know I helped both the dogs and the employees of the shelter.