New organization encourages students to volunteer in the community

photo by Mingzhu Zhu

WASHBURN UNIVERSITY

Students Building Stronger Ground (SBSG) is a student organization at Washburn University that was established in July 2018. The club members are students who want to do volunteer activities on campus or in the Topeka community. The purpose of this club is to help other student groups coordinate volunteer efforts on campus with community service opportunities in the Topeka community. 

Evan Hahn created Students Building Stronger Ground over the summer. 

Hahn was working for Circles of Greater Topeka, which was renamed Thrive Topeka. After registration of topics people are interested in, people from the Circles of Greater Topeka talk about those issues when they have a meeting. He was inspired by what Circles of Greater Topeka have contributed to the community issues. 

“My goal is to turn an event that just talk about the issues to an event that actually does something about the issues,” Hahn said.

He wants to focus on continuous actions for community issues. 

Hahn has a leadership position in the Bonner program at Washburn University, which is a national service scholarship program. He enhanced his leadership skills when he joined the program and he was involved in many volunteer activities in the program. It helped him to start the new organization.

SBSG is an unscholarly student organization. The club currently has eight student members.  

“The goal of Students Building Stronger Ground is not to gain students into the club as many as we can but it’s to get many people involved in community activities outside of campus and make a difference in Topeka Community,” Hahn said.

Students Building Stronger Ground is a way where people can work on the same community issues together.

The club provides opportunities for students who look for more volunteer experience or leadership positions working in an organization. They can come to the events held by Students Building Stronger Ground and help for a day.

SBSG will hold the Topeka Community Conversation for Poverty Reduction from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 15 in the Memorial Union at Washburn University. Free registration and lunch will be provided for this event. 

The Topeka Community Conversation for Poverty was an event that happened in 2015, where community members came to talk about issues in Topeka that they were working on or what they wanted to do.

The Topeka Community Conversation for Poverty Reduction is the first event of SBSG. It focuses on poverty and four community issues: basic needs, transportation, enhanced income and dependent care. Its goal is to create a diverse, community-wide understanding of poverty issues in Topeka, and look for solutions that the community can take to address them. 

Students at Washburn University are welcome to join the conversation to discuss and work on poverty and community issues. Students can provide their knowledge and guide decisions about the issues.

When students volunteer in any activities, they learn about leadership and important issues in their community and walk away with valuable transferable experiences to take back to the classroom. SBSG provides opportunities for volunteers, and they share events with other student groups across campus as well as nonprofit organization in Topeka.

“I like the idea to start an organization which focus on community issues. I am not the only one with this idea. It’s important to make sure what I do is unique and helpful,” Hahn said. “If somebody is doing the same thing as me, I will turn to be partners with him.”

He wants to start something new with people who have the same goals as him.

As the founder of SBSG, Hahn is responsible for the issues of the club, from small stuff to large decision. He is running around for the event, Topeka Community Conversation for Poverty Reduction.

If you are interested in the club Students Building Stronger Ground, visit their Facebook page, Students Building Stronger Ground, or contact Evan Hahn via email at [email protected] To go to Topeka Community Conversation for Poverty Reduction, contact [email protected] to register for the event.