By Syndey Schirra, Contributor
In 1965 Betty J. Alverson came to Furman University with a vision of public service and created the prestigious Collegiate Educational Service Corps. It was not until later in the twentieth century when Max Heller came to Furman and shaped the service corps into what it is today. His vision was not only to serve the Greenville community but also to connect it with the Furman community. With this vision in sight, Heller preached his own personal catchphrase: “Never a hand out but a hand up.”
When the service corps was endowed in his name in 2002, this catchphrase was not forgotten. At the present marking of its 50th anniversary, the program has evolved and grown to affiliation with over 60 outstanding organizations and is still true to its roots. Heller Service Corps’ belief in bringing the Furman community together by service through humility and kindness helps the organization annual events, such as the Dance Marathon, Furman Fall Festival and Winter Wonderland.
According to the volunteer service coordinator Nancy Cooper, these events are welcome to all Furman students, as she says “everyone has a spot in Heller.” Cooper goes on to say that students are able to volunteer anywhere they like, and that “if you have a passion for it, [Heller] has a place”. In the past, students have volunteered with a variety of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Greenville Humane Society, Greenville County Schools and more.
The Heller Service Corps’ student president, Blake Reed, says that the organization is special because “we are all a team and there is no hierarchy in service”. Not only are students offered a variety of service opportunities, but they are also able to learn valuable leadership skills that will be beneficial in any endeavor after college.
These qualities give the remarkable Heller Service Corps the chance to celebrate its 50th anniversary. So how is this organization celebrating? By asking Furman University students and alumni to record volunteer hours on the Heller Service Corps website in order to reach a goal of 50,000 hours. Cooper says that instead of receiving a trophy or award, Heller’s values and tradition “would rather see the Furman community celebrating service and doing something for those in need”.
If you would like to get involved please stop by the Heller Service Corps office in the Trone Student Center or email the volunteer service coordinator Nancy Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.