In hopes to join the community of Hillsdale and the college, Ben Holscher, a resident assistant on third-floor Galloway, came up with an idea, a friendly competition of sorts.
Since Feb. 9, the men of Galloway Hall have been collecting. Not cans, not money, but volunteer hours. The entire dorm has been challenged to assemble more volunteer hours than the competing teams by April 17. Whoever has the most hours is awarded an all-expense-paid trip to Six Flags in Chicago. In order to be eligible for the amusement park excursion, each individual must log a minimum of 12 hours.
The three teams in the competition are divided by floors. The residents of the first floor of Galloway and the loft were added to the the teams of the top three floors. “Smart money is on third floor to win,” said sophomore Sam Stoneburner, team second floor. Stoneburner logs his volunteer hours filling in as an assistant cook for the Equip Bible study. “I work for two hours a week. That by itself pulls my weight,” said Stoneburner.
The good will competition was conceived last summer in a brainstorming session to create dorm camaraderie. Holscher wanted the residents of Galloway to grow both as men and as members of the community.
“I have gradually learned that the community doesn’t have a good perspective of the college. They see students as privileged or self-centered. And that’s a false stereotype. Or at least it should be. We want Hillsdale County to be proud that they’re home to Hillsdale College,” Holscher said.
As of recently, a new rule has been added to the competition. If residents convince non-“Gallowayans” to participate in volunteering activities, the non-resident hours will count to whichever floor drafted the additional hands.
“I want it to get bigger,” Holscher said. “We want campus to get on board on this mission to help others.”
Junior Micah Speers has found that the competition has significantly raised volunteer participation among his Galloway peers.
“From what I hear, people are really enjoying their time. The time they spend volunteering is not time wasted,” Speers said. “Lots of guys on the third floor volunteer at the King’s Cupboard, do buddy reading, or volunteer at the humane society.” At press time, Speers and his third-floor teammates logged 55 hours.
Team fourth floor has some plans on pulling ahead, as they are in last place.
According to freshman Caleb Bowers, it is the best strategy to collect hours in a big sum rather than assembling hours in small amounts. “This Saturday, Anthony Brooks is putting on a Rubiks cube competition where all proceeds are going to charity,” Bowers said.
“G‑4 has a very giving heart and attitude. We actually care about the community. And Six Flags.”
The big threat for “G‑4” is team second floor. According to Bowers, “second floor is killing everyone volunteering-wise.” Fourth-floor resident sophomore Michael Ragan, however, was not intimidated, “Despite second floor’s lead, G‑4 still has some secret plans to come ahead,” Ragan said.
But competition aside, students have realized the impact their hours have had on both the community and themselves as individuals. “I noticed how much need there was once this started. Even if everyone in Galloway was committed, we still wouldn’t be able to fulfill all of the volunteering needs in Hillsdale. It has really opened my eyes,” Stoneburner said.
Senior Brad Deitzen has been a regular in the volunteering for quite some time. Ever since the second semester of his freshman year, Deitzen has volunteered at Crossroad Farm, a church 15 minutes from campus. Twice a week, Deitzen will spend three hours working with middle school and high school youth groups.
“I’ve grown a lot thanks to these kids. There is sometimes a disconnect between the college and the town. I want to get out there. The whole experience is really humbling,” Deitzen said. As for the competitive element of this volunteer challenge, Deitzen has also posed some interest, despite his indifference toward the grand prize. “I don’t even like Six Flags. I don’t even like roller coasters. I just want to win it to win it,” Deitzen said.