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The GOAL program is hiring seven new leaders for vol­unteer orga­ni­za­tions and a new coor­di­nator for the fall 2014 semester. Senior Travis Cook, GOAL director, will be replaced by current coor­di­nator sophomore Jackie Frenkel.
“So far we’ve had 30 to 35 appli­ca­tions,” Cook said. “We typ­i­cally conduct 30 to 40 inter­views every spring, which takes up a lot of time. It’s 30­minute inter­views, so we need to coor­dinate a schedule to fit all five of the GOAL com­mittee, plus the person we’re inter­viewing.”
Despite the work, Cook said he enjoys the oppor­tunity to meet stu­dents pas­sionate about getting involved in the Hillsdale com­munity.
“I really enjoy the hiring process. I con­tinue to be blown away by the strength of the freshman classes as they come in,” Cook said.
Cook was hired as GOAL coor­di­nator in his freshman year, and said GOAL encourages freshmen to apply for lead­ership posi­tions in the GOAL vol­unteer orga­ni­za­tions so they can serve con­sis­tently during the rest of their time at college.
“We like the con­ti­nuity that comes with having a freshman who can serve us three years, but we do not turn down sopho­mores and juniors who are applying,” Cook said. “It is exciting and encour­aging to see how many freshmen end up being inter­ested in GOAL lead­ership.”
Junior Sam Ryskamp is leader of the Lochaven program, which was revamped at the beginning of the 2013 fall semester. The program’s mission is to provide healthy friend­ships and men­tor­ships to stu­dents at an alter­native high school. The stu­dents are sixth to 12th graders unable to attend their local school due to behav­ioral dif­fi­culties or juvenile detention.
One of Ryskamp’s con­cerns is that stu­dents tend to become self­absorbed and stuck in the “college bubble” while at Hillsdale. While studies are important, Ryskamp believes vol­un­teering pre­pares stu­dents to make a dif­ference and change the world.
“When you come to college, it’s all about you and your future,” Ryskamp said. “You’re preparing yourself for some point down the road when you’re going to change the world and make a dif­ference. It’s really easy to become self­absorbed, like all my time is my time.”
When stu­dents are so con­sumed by aca­d­emics and pur­suing career goals, Ryskamp says they can lose sight of all the won­derful oppor­tu­nities right on their doorstep in the city of Hillsdale. “When you’re so focused on serving in the future you forget that there’s people around you, right

here, right now, that God put around you to serve,” Ryskamp said. “There’s a strug­gling com­munity around us, and we have 1,400 highly moti­vated, intel­ligent, inter­ested, caring people at this college who have the resources to help and the interest in helping, but because they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing right now they forget about it.”
Frenkel agrees with Ryskamp and hopes GOAL will help more stu­dents see the immea­surable value of reaching out to one’s com­munity and building rela­tion­ships outside the college.
“We have a respon­si­bility in addition to an oppor­tunity to bless and serve our com­munity,” Frenkel said. “GOAL has a really cool oppor­tunity to make vol­un­teering a part of the Hillsdale culture, the same way leaving your stuff in the library is a part of the Hillsdale culture. I think that unity is pow­erful.”
But vol­un­teering does more than impact the Hillsdale com­munity. Rela­tion­ships go both ways — when stu­dents enter the lives of others, stu­dents change them and are changed by them.
“The more I have been able to get involved in the com­munity and get to know people from the com­munity, I have been changed,” Frenkel said. “In just as great a way I hope I’m impacting and causing change for them.”
GOAL is already taking steps to encourage stu­dents to become more involved. Coming up later this semester, Cook says GOAL is planning a campus­wide vol­unteer oppor­tunity.
“It’s open to anyone who is inter­ested in helping out, and it’ll be a week­long ini­tiative,” Cook said. The success of Lochaven is one example of how GOAL is helping to foster student vol­un­teerism and growth in the Hillsdale com­munity.
“At the very first meeting of the year, we had a total of three vol­un­teers,” Ryskamp said. “At our mid­year meeting at the beginning of this semester, we had 15, and now we have 25. I think that shows that on Hillsdale’s campus there’s a resur­gence of interest in helping out in the com­munity, which is a pos­itive change that I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Ulti­mately, Ryskamp says, the success of Lochaven and the GOAL program isn’t a result of
mere human achievement.
“God’s in control. If God wants to grow the program, then He will,” Ryskamp said. “If He didn’t want to grow the program then it wouldn’t be growing. It’s not really my program, it’s His.”