CUSG adds some new twists to GiveStrong this year
Cornerstone University Student Government is offering students the opportunity to give back to the community during the Christmas season.
GiveStrong, CUSG’s annual fundraiser, will consist of three drives for which students can volunteer time, money and goods. The event will run from Wednesday, Nov. 19 to Saturday, Dec. 6. Sign-ups for Salvation Army bell ringing will be available Nov. 19-21.
Lindsey Jacobs, CUSG vice president of student organizations, is heading up the fundraiser that focuses on helping three local groups: Salvation Army, Grand Rapids Housing Commission and Safe Haven Ministries.
Salvation Army is the recipient of volunteered time. Students will be able to sign-up to ring bells at different spots around Grand Rapids for the organization’s most prominent fundraising effort.
GiveStrong is also accepting donated goods for the Leonard Terrace Apartments, run by the Grand Rapids Housing Commission. The organization provides apartments to low-income seniors citizens. CUSG will be donating goods like can goods, toiletries, food and laundry detergent.
Safe Haven Ministries is the third organization GiveStrong will support, in this case financially.
“I think they have a wonderful ministry,” said Bethany Henning, president of Socially Aware Students. “It is a refuge place for people saved from domestic abuse or violence…and they can stay as long as they need.”
Jacobs hopes to have all of CU involved.
“I believe it is something that can really unite the campus,” Jacobs said.
Another reason for students to be involved is a celebration at the end of all the work. As a new addition from previous years, Jacobs is planning to end GiveStrong with a dessert and dance on Saturday, Dec. 6.
“We are hoping that speakers can come in from the different organizations we are donating to,” Jacobs said. “It will be a really nice time to celebrate the Christmas season together.”
The three drives offer unique ways to help out the community.
Most residents of the Leonard Terrace Apartments live on a fixed-income and donating goods to the organization helps fill their pantry, according to Jacobs. People in the apartments who cannot make ends meet often will utilize the resources of the apartment’s pantry.
Socially Aware Students chose Safe Haven Ministries as one of the organizations to support. Henning said they decided on the ministry because it is less known.
“We chose Safe Haven because that is not too overly broadcasted and not a lot of people know about them,” Henning said. “I think they have a wonderful ministry.”
Henning also noted that there is a Cornerstone connection with the ministry. Junior Courtney Figgins, a member of Socially Aware Students, has been doing community service for Safe Haven.
Christmas drives and fundraising during past years at Cornerstone presented conflict because resources were scattered.
“Basically a couple years back around this time, there would be a million drives around campus,” Jacobs said. “Every dorm would have a drive going on, what it meant was that nothing was being raised.”
In order to solve that problem, CUSG decided to consolidate all their efforts into three drives and try to discourage dorms from doing their own. GiveStrong is now a few years old and concentrating its efforts.
Jacobs stressed the unique opportunity for students to be involved.
“I hope they understand that it is really a time to give back to communities at a time when it is really needed and will be really appreciated,” Jacobs said.
Henning also supported students getting involved with GiveStrong.
“I think that it is good for us to take the time out and give back to other things around the community,” Henning said. “We have been blessed in so many areas that we can forget to give back. I think that Christmas is a great time to get involved.”