By: Meredith Francis
The Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice (CFJ) has announced that the two weekly service programs, Students Taking Active Roles (S.T.A.R.) and ConneXions, will merge in the 2013-14 academic school year to form a new program called X Change.
The name X Change represents the idea that weekly service is a mutual exchange of skills, knowledge and passion between Xavier students and the Cincinnati community.
Students will visit the same service site each week to participate in this experience. The format will be similar to S.T.A.R., giving students the opportunity to serve at agencies dealing with education issues, people with disabilities, elderly care, poverty and homelessness.
Much like ConneXions, which was geared solely toward first-year students, X Change will allow first-years
to get to know the Cincinnati community through their service groups. However, some changes will be implemented.
“The X Change weekly service program structure will be similar to what students have experienced through the former S.T.A.R. program, so students will be familiar with it in that sense,” CFJ Coordinator for Service and Justice Dominique Brown said.
“We are incorporating our first-year students into the already great service work we are doing on a weekly basis. They will be serving weekly at the same site as opposed to going to different sites every week, so that will be different for them,” she said.
In the past, ConneXions allowed first-year students to visit different service sites every week. This will no longer be the case.
“While the service ‘buffet’ model was fun for students, it is necessary to develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our community partners through weekly service to help meet longer term community needs,” Brown added.
Additionally, X Change will place a greater emphasis on reflection as part of service. The role of site leaders will also be increased.
Junior Paul Heintzman is currently the marketing coordinator for S.T.A.R. and will be a site coordinator for X Change next year.
“There’s going to be a lot of changes next year, but we’re going to try to be as visible to students as possible,” Heintzman said.
For many students, like Heinztman, weekly service has been an important part of the Xavier experience.
“I find that I really get close with those that I serve and it’s nice to go back every week to form relationships with amazing people,” Heinztman said.
For those interested in joining the X Change service program, sign up for the X Change OrgSync page and look for online sign-ups in the fall.