Students volunteering Nov. 4 at the Science Museum Oklahoma were pleasantly surprised when President Paul Sechrist and his cabinet joined them in service.
The volunteer work for the day was explaining basic concepts in chemistry through experimentation to children from various Oklahoma City Public Schools. It was organized as a partnership between the office of Student Life, the TRiO Programs and the Science Museum Oklahoma, with employees from Weokie Credit Union adding support.
When asked about the president’s cabinet being active in service days, Executive Vice President Jerry Steward said, “The staff should participate in community service projects. We should, everyone should.”
He also said he enjoyed working with OCCC students, and his favorite demonstration at the event was “Cold Chemistry,” a demonstration of liquid nitrogen that involved cheese balls and slushies.
Steward said the greatest part of working with the schoolchildren was their expressions. Vice President for Community Development Steven Bloomberg echoed this sentiment.
“Seeing children light up when they [finally] understood how, but also why, the experiments worked,” Bloomberg said of his favorite part of the experience.
While the president’s cabinet organizes yearly service ventures, Sechrist said, it is students working under Student Life’s direction that commonly represent OCCC with service agencies.
Like the OCCC staff, the students’ remarks showed both an eye to the image of the school, but also the reward of service and its impact.
John Mitchell, pre-pharmacy major said, “[Volunteering] shows that we are interested in more than just getting a job and making money.
“It shows that we can help others and serve the community.”
Hugo Mier, computer science major, focused more on the effect the service had on the children.
“We had a decent impact.You could tell from reactions that little light bulbs went off for them,” Mier said.
The service day ended with a reflection directed by Jill Lindblad, director of service learning in the office of Student Life.
This reflection stressed the importance of museums in the community and the importance of community participation with museums.
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