WANTED: Male Volunteers

Arthur Dowell, Web Editor

Campus Ministry staffers said growth in the number of male students on campus is not leading to more male volunteers.

Of the 57 student volunteers expected to travel to Rhode Island, Florida, New York and Philadelphia for spring break service trips, only seven are men.

The problem does not only affect spring break service. The Jamaica trip last winter had only two men aboard, and trips to Guyana and Peru this summer have only three male student volunteers so far.

Christine Somers, Director of Campus Ministry, believes sports commitments are at least part of the reason for the lack of men in service programs.

“Much of the males are here for sports and dedicate much of their time to training, practices and games,” said Somers. “When they get a break, I’d imagine many of them would just like to go home and spend time with their friends and family.”

Both the men’s lacrosse and baseball teams are known for taking out-of-state trips during spring break. Other teams, including track and field, are known for reserving the week to themselves, and through the years many players have volunteered their time.

Though it is not certain what is to blame for the lack of volunteering, Habitat for Humanity student coordinator and senior student Danny Price believes it could be because the university is still increasing the number of male students.

“The school is still trying to grow its male population with the football team and majors that seem male-dominated such as sports management and GLNS [Government Law and National Security].”

Somers believes the lack of male charisma in Campus Ministry might also play a role. With only four male students serving, Somers thinks men might perceive Campus Ministry as a group reserved for students who are spiritual, and perhaps they don’t think about the service opportunities Campus Ministry offers.

Fr. Don Williams was famous in Campus Ministry for reeling in people with his friendly outreach, and many students often returned to visit him. Now that he has left the university, Somers is adding clubs to help attract male students.

“We hope that more guys come around the office and get involved with the smaller, less costly ministries,” said Somers. “We think this could break down the stereotypes, and more males would look into service trips when offered in the fall, spring, and summer times.”

Price supports any new initiatives to bring in more male stu- dents. As coordinator of Habitat for Humanity, he expected more men to apply for the hands-on trip. The stereotype that power tools are a man’s domain does not apply here: Only four men of the 19 total volunteers expected are set to work over spring break.

“I was expecting more males to volunteer this year with us,” said Price. “Last year there were eight of us, and I expected the number to grow a bit, but instead we got half the number.”

Price said women’s volunteer work is equally valuable, of course, but he feels disappointed to not have more men participating in both the work site and off site events the team enjoys throughout the week.

While trip announcements are posted on Campus Ministry’s Facebook, in students emails and on the campus announcement tab on the e-MU homepage, Price and Somers both believe the lack of male participation is the result of students simply ignoring the mes- sages because their friends are not going, or they want to stay home.

Somers and Campus Ministry staffers said they won’t give up their efforts to recruit more men.

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