Community service is not just something one does to get into an honor society or put on his or her resume; it is about helping people or supporting a cause, such as preserving the environment.
That is why Dr. Jacob Lanphere, associate professor of environmental science, created a network of volunteers this year for his community, Stewards of Menifee Parks and Trails.
Lanphere said he noticed a lot of trash on the trails where he was running and wanted to take initiative to find a way to restore the environment.
“I thought I should do something about that,” Lanphere said. “I should change the current environment and not just wait for someone else to do it but be proactive in my community.”
The club does not require members to gather for meetings or events to participate but Lanphere and his wife are coordinating optional events during the spring semester.
People simply have to email firstname.lastname@example.org pictures of their service work with a short description of where they were, who they were with and how much trash they picked up. In return, they become members of the group.
“They’re able to participate in cleaning their environment, taking care of their own community, protecting their wildlife, the place they run and the parks where their children are playing,” Lanphere said.
Rachel Moulton, junior environmental science major, said Lanphere’s new club will have a positive impact on the community.
“Feeling like you accomplished something great, not just for you but for the planet, is a very uplifting experience and once people start to see the impact it will only continue to spread,” Moulton said.
“It’s a great and easy way for the whole family to be involved in serving the community while enjoying time together outdoors,” said Jill Lanphere, executive assistant of institutional effectiveness at Mt. San Jacinto College.
“For me, it was a way to let people know about a need in the community and not make it burdensome to where we’re all having to meet once a month because everyone has busy schedules. Rather, it is a free, independent system where people can go out and do this on their own,” Jacob Lanphere said.
The Lanpheres prove it does not take an army to take initiative and begin to make a difference. Any individual can start a movement and make an impact in his or her community. A simple action, such as picking up trash on a trail for five minutes, can be contagious.