The recently inaugurated South Puget Sound Community College Alumni Association began their commitment to forging community connections by co-hosting a Day of Caring at the Thurston County Food Bank on November 2. The event was thrown as a joint partnership between the SPSCC Alumni Association and the Student Life Program. The event brought together SPSCC alumni, SPSCC Foundation staff, current students and community members to volunteer at the Thurston County Food Bank Warehouse, located across the street from SPSCC’s main campus.

SPSCC Day of Caring Thurston County Food Bank Job Directions
SPSCC alumni, SPSCC Foundation staff, current students and community members are receiving their assignments while volunteering at the Thurston County Food Bank during the Day of Caring, organized by the SPSCC Alumni Association and Student Life. Photo credit: Molly Walsh

In the college’s 56-year history, there have been over 52,000 alumni. The goal of the new Alumni Association is to connect with these alumni to provide a positive SPSCC experience beyond the boundaries of the campus. “The Alumni Association not only connects past students back to campus, but also works to make the alumni experience a special one,” says Shannon Glenn, Alumni Relations and Community Engagement Coordinator for the SPSCC Alumni Association. “We want to give our alumni the opportunity to feel more like a part of our campus community, because they play such a big part in making SPSCC all that it is today.”

Glenn emphasizes community service as a core element of the Alumni Association as it grows; by taking the time to give back to the community, alumni can reflect on the effect the college had on their life. “I see the Alumni Association making a big impact in terms of establishing a philanthropic culture on campus,” says Glenn. “My ultimate goal is to make our alumni the most successful they can be in every aspect of their lives.” She added, “I hope to see more alumni coming home to where they got their start and paying it forward.”

SPSCC Day of Caring Thurston County Food Bank Current Student
Current SPSCC students, as well as alumni volunteered for the Day of Caring to give back to the local community. Photo credit: Molly Walsh

The Day of Caring was just the first of many philanthropic efforts that the Alumni Association hopes to support, and the Thurston County Food Bank was a natural first choice for the SPSCC Alumni Association, due to the ties that the food bank already has with the SPSCC campus. “The SPSCC Foundation and the Thurston County Food Bank have a very special relationship,” says Glenn. “Having a warehouse right across the street and the SPSCC Food Pantry on campus gave us a great opportunity to help the community at-large and our very own campus community.”

The Day of Caring for the Alumni Association has provided an opportunity for members of the SPSCC community to reach outside the demands of everyday life and give back. “I am so excited to see the passion and dedication everyone has to make our community a better place to be,” says Glenn. “I personally like to be reminded of the reasons that I do the work that I do, and service is a reminder to be grateful even when we may get wrapped up in our own bubbles. Service has always been an important part of who I am and it is a vital part of being part of a community. We are a community college, so community should be at the forefront of everything that we do.”

SPSCC Day of Caring Thurston County Food Bank Sorting Food
Volunteers label, sort and organize assorted snack items during the Day of Caring. Photo credit: Molly Walsh

In addition to providing alumni an opportunity to give back, the Day of Caring also gave current students a chance to reach out and help. “The Day of Caring is a really good activity to get out into the community and really makes a tight connection,” says Chante Williams, SPSCC campus activities coordinator and co-organizer of the Day of Caring. “I really wanted to offer that to students.”

“We are always accepting financial support and donations of food, toiletries, hygiene products, and winter hats and gloves for our Food Pantry on campus,” reports Glenn. “We also will be offering gifts for students with children that cannot afford to provide these during the holidays.”

Glenn is constantly looking to the future to expand the Alumni Association through community involvement. She recently started an e-Mentoring program to connect alumni with current SPSCC students. Glenn says, “We will also be having more service days coming up and all groups that would like to partner with us are more than welcome.” The next Alumni Association event will be a mixer held on December 6 at Bittersweet Chocolates in downtown Olympia.

To learn more about the SPSCC Alumni Association and their upcoming events, you can visit their website. For opportunities to support or volunteer at the bank, visit the Thurston County Food Bank website.

SPSCC Day of Caring Thurston County Food Bank Stacking
The Day of Caring is the first philanthropic event that the SPSCC Alumni Association has planned and the organization hopes to support more events like this in the future. Photo credit: Molly Walsh

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