Athens Student Action, whose Web site is shown here, helps match Ohio University and Hocking College students with volunteer opportunities in the Athens area.

Graphic courtesy of: College of Health Sciences and Professions

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Local organization plays matchmaker for students seeking volunteer opportunities in community

In August, the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) gained a new community partner in Athens Student Action, a local organization that matches students with volunteer opportunities.

Athens Student Action, founded in March, is a university-community partnership whose mission is helping students from Ohio University and Hocking College engage with the Athens community through service.

“I saw it as a natural partner for us,” said Kevin Davis, director of community engagement for CHSP. “If you want to get an education and come here, a part of that education is understanding the lifestyle and culture of the area.”

The partnership aligns well with CHSP Dean Randy Leite’s belief in community service and engagement for students, Davis said, as well as the college’s mission to “extend the boundaries of Ohio University to enrich the quality of lives, especially for individuals in underserved and vulnerable populations.”

Tana Reynolds, student coordinator at Athens Student Action (ASA), sees the organization as a valuable tool for students.

“I did my undergraduate (study) here and I would have loved to have a tool like this to access all this information about organizations in the Athens community,” she said

ASA partners with 33 community organizations, such as Appalachian Community Hospice, Live Healthy Appalachia and Athens County Children Services. Though operated by the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the organization welcomes students from any Ohio University academic program looking to engage with the community.

“Whether it is volunteering at the local food bank, holding a book drive for an under-funded school, or being a “big sister” or “big brother,” you can help build a stronger community,’’ Athens Student Action says on its website. “You can leave Athens County (if you ever want to leave Athens County) better than you found it.”

Those interested in volunteering can choose from ASA partners alphabetically, by location (if transportation is an issue), or by service type or area, such as children, social justice or food issues.

“You spend at least four years here,” Davis said of OHIO students. “It’s a wonderful time to make a positive impact on the local community.”

Students seeking more information can stop by the Athens Student Action table on the first floor of Baker University Center on Friday, Sept. 14, from 3 to 5 p.m.; or contact Reynolds at; or visit the group’s website.

Gina Mussio is a student writer for the College of Health Sciences and Professions.