Earlier this month I was asked to be the keynote speaker for the Alpha Phi Omega Section 49 Conference in St. Louis. APO is a National Co-Ed Service Fraternity on college campuses around the country encouraging college students to get involved in community service. I was a member as an undergrad at Colorado State University, and an advisor for the St. Louis University chapter when we lived there from 1998-2002. I got to speak to about 200 college students about how “It’s Always a Season for Service.”

Here’s what I shared with them, in a nutshell: community service will look different at different times in your life. Right now, you can sign up to serve in a soup kitchen or help build a home with your friends, but that isn’t the only way you can provide service to your community.

I told these college students that you can live a life of service. For example, you could:
• Join a young professionals board
• Do random acts of kindness
• Make treats for a neighbor
• Make a meal for a friend
• Give food to someone who is experiencing homelessness
• Be a mentor or a tutor
• Help your parents
• Run, golf, ride, or bowl for charity
• Volunteer or raise money for your kids’ school

Basically, if you look for ways to help others, you will find plenty of options. This is living a life of service. I chose a career that allows me to be of service, as did you. We know first hand that living a life of service feels amazing. As cheesy as it sounds, we get to make the world a better place every day, and I always want my job to fit that description.

When I was in St. Louis, they told me that some of the programs I helped launch when I was there are still going today, and have given over 100,000 hours of community service to the St. Louis community. This is impressive! But it doesn’t stop there. How many ways have those students gone on to impact their communities after college? It’s truly a ripple effect when we get college students involved in helping others.

They are our future leaders, board members and donors, and giving them our attention now will have an impact for years to come! So how can you can get college students and recent college graduates involved with your mission in a meaningful way??