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.