September 2011 Winners

Public Service Residential Community

This year, the Public Service Residential Community kicked off the year by accumulating 300 service hours in just two weeks of school. Working with Habitat for Humanity, the Community Compassion Network, and the Isabella County Soup Kitchen, the estimated value of these volunteer hours to the community amounts to over $6,100. In addition, they have also donated 9 pints of blood, which can save up to 27 lives.


January 2012 Winners

Honors Program First Year Class


During the Fall 2011 semester, approximately 250 first year Honors students did over 50 fundraisers for the Community Compassion Network Mobile Food Pantry, which feeds 350+ local families twice a month in Isabella County. The students succeeded in raising over $17,000 - with an initial goal of only $10,000 - providing the largest outside donation ever to CCN. Fundraising activities varied by group, including a campus-wide Silent Auction, a Date Auction, selling hot chocolate, bake sales, bottle drives, and even a gently-used formal gown sale.

In addition, the Honors students volunteered at five mobile food pantries during the fall, with about 60 student volunteers helping out at each food truck. Students were also asked to help educate the community about CCN through various activities within campus and the community.


Karen Arthur

As Director of the Business Residential College, Karen encourages all of her students to volunteer through mobile food pantries, Alternative Breaks, and even helps advise the Up Til Dawn RSO on campus, which sends letters to students at St. Jude's Children's hospital. Also serving as an advisor to the College of Business, she is very helpful to students and often volunteers some of her lunch hours to help advise them. Karen has provided ten years of outstanding service and work to CMU and its students.


Jon Reusch

Within the past few semesters, Jon has been dipping his serving hands into helping with the at-risk youth population through his work with the College 101. Jon assists with countless hours of direct service with the youth, as well as traveling throughout Michigan to bring awareness to a problem that is commonly overlooked. Jon has many other leadership roles on campus as well as off campus, including Eminent Archon (President) of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, Inc., CMU Homecoming Ambassador, CMU Campus Ambassador, Leadership Safari guide, and member of the Comfort Zone RSO. Jon commits much of his time, energy and passion toward his pursuit to take on social justice.


Nathan Kopp

Nathan had the main role in the planning of the Sport Management Association Professional Development Conference in February, and spent numerous hours planning and bringing distinguished professionals in the sport industry to CMU in order to help students network and learn more about the industry. He also took a great initiative to invite many other schools in order to create an economic impact for the area. Nathan has assisted in other philanthropic events on campus, and is currently in the process of creating an on-campus event for Sport Management programs around Michigan to come together and compete. This will be a competition that includes philanthropy and sport in order to raise money for a cause. Nathan also recently spoke at MAHPERD, a state-wide conference for physical educators. He discussed the importance of service learning in the classroom setting and how to incorporate it into their curriculum.


Elizabeth Schneider

Elizabeth was the group leader for an on-campus service learning project. "Dodging Budget Cuts" was a dodgeball tournament for students and community members in order to help the Mt. Pleasant Athletic Department offset the cost of transportation to and from athletic events. The event raised over $4,000 for their chosen cause.


February 2012 Winners

Reid Rooney

Through his commitment to service, Reid has raised thousands of dollars for various organizations and causes. Reid, along with baseball teammate Sam Russell, founded and has hosted the CHIPY awards for athletics for the past two years. The event, which is similar to Hollywood’s ESPYS, raised over $5,000 for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. This year the Special Olympics were involved and NFL player T.J. Duckett was in attendance to raise support.

Reid was also a group leader for Strikes for Santa, a bowling event which raised over $7,000 to be donated to the Michigan chapter of Volunteers of America. Reid asked for all of the money to go to local families, and the donation was enough to help every family in need in Isabella County, as well as many more families in the Detroit area. Each family received a $50 Meijer gift card to go toward holiday meals, and children received 2-3 toys each. The event was a service learning project for his PES 320: Foundations of Sports Management class.

“I think people are very fortunate and it is kind of a privilege to be that fortunate,” Reid said. “I think it’s important to give back and try to make other people as privileged as possible. People this privileged don’t realize what it’s like to go without a warm meal or a toy on Christmas, I know never have. Trying to make fewer people experience that was a pretty fulfilling feeling.”


Kari Niethammer


Since attending Central, Kari has been involved with the Commission on Aging's Friendly Visitor program. She visits an elderly woman living in Rosebush Manor in Rosebush, MI once a week and does many things with her, including taking her to the grocery store, going bowling at Chippewa Lanes, or driving her to CMU Hospital to visit her husband who is a patient there. "She is always overjoyed to see him and it is extremely rewarding to see how happy they are when they are together," Kari said.

During this past year, Kari has also become involved in volunteering at the Salvation Army Stationary Food Pantry in Mt. Pleasant. "It is so touching to hear what some people are struggling are with in life and overcoming. I always leave the food pantry feeling like I have made a difference in at least one other person's life," Kari said. She spends a couple hours in the morning once a week to help stock shelves and take customers through the food pantry.

Kari is also involved in various other service activities around campus, such as Valentines for Veterans and volunteering at the nursing home in her hometown during breaks.


Matt Knopsnider

Every Friday afternoon, Matt attends Lunch Buddies at Vowles Elementary School. As a mentor for the Lunch Buddies program, he has been thoughtful and intentional with his interactions on the playground. Most weeks he prepares a card or drawing for his buddy and puts thought and effort into the message that he creates and sends to his buddy. Matt also recently attended an Alternative Spring Break to benefit the Arts, traveling to Wisconsin with a group in order to promote a connection between arts and academics in K12 education.


March 2012 Winners

Darcy Orlik

Serving on the Mt Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation as a board member and the Women's Initiative Committee as co-chair, and the CMU Alumni Advisory Board as chairperson allows Orlik to keep a finger on the pulse of the community, working to fulfill its many demands and keep the area thriving. Orlik is also very active in her church, and is always willing to help whenever anyone calls.

“There are multiple benefits to volunteerism; sharing one’s time and talent to make a positive difference and getting to know and interact with a wide array of people,” Orlik said. “We all have unique qualities to bring to the table.”

Orlik received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Central Michigan University, as well as a receiving a certificate in marketing and distribution and graduating from the Leadership Institute. She has been recognized by The Morning Sun as one of Mt. Pleasant’s “Top Twenty Under 40” and is continually seeking out new ways to give back to the community.


Arthur DeCamp

Arthur has shown a dedication to service through his work as a RA/MA staff member, and has always been an advocate for people and been a role model for his residents and other staff members. He has planned many programs that fundraise for philanthropies or volunteer work and is always willing to help with his staff members’ side projects. This year, Arthur has taken on the role of Lunch Buddies mentor as well. Despite being challenged initially and struggling to figure out his buddy’s needs, he has developed a lasting connection and is constantly promoting positive actions. Arthur has also done the Polar Plunge this year, which benefitted the Special Olympics.


Ashley Neych

Ashley is actively involved in Scout Banana, an organization that raises awareness for the lack of basic healthcare services in Africa. Ashley also spent time working on Valentines for Veterans, a Volunteer Center special program that makes and sends valentines to veterans and the disabled in medical facilities around the state.


April 2012 Winners

College 101

College 101 targets the needs of at-risk high school youth to encourage the opportunities available through college and higher education. Five schools, each with a unique and diverse group of students, are brought to Central's campus every semester for a day-long program meant to demystify the college experience and show that higher education really is attainable for anyone, no matter what a student's background or financial standing may be. Students who attend these events are shown how to connect their passions with a field of study and a potential career, are taught about the college admissions process and get to talk one-on-one with CMU volunteers who show that college really is something worth looking into. The program has opened many new doors of opportunity for students that are often ignored or written off in the standard educational system, filling a gap by providing the information and means to pursue a brighter future for themselves.


Dr. Paul Hernandez

Dr. Hernandez commits a great deal of time, energy and passion to his work with at-risk youth. He founded the College 101 program several years ago, which encourages disadvantaged students to pursue higher education, and provides the tools and information to do so. Thanks to Hernandez and his ever increasing pool of sociological and other related work, many at-risk students have considered higher education as a viable option, and several students he has worked with are now directly on track to be college students this fall, despite having entirely written off the possibility of doing so just a few years ago.

Hernandez also works with the MSU High School Equivalency Program, which allows opportunities for adults and youth alike to receive their GEDs. By providing support for these students, opportunities following the completion of their GEDs become available for them to move on to be contributing members of society.


Octavia Carson​


Octavia is a member of the Public Service Residential Community, through which she has dedicated hundreds of hours to service and service learning. She has participated in two mobile food pantries, has helped to put together care packages for families in need, and won a $2,500 grant for Christian Unity Restoration Home. Octavia also helped put together Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week and participated in Michigan Ski for Light, where she helped people who were blind ski while building relationships with them.

Octavia spent her spring break in the Dominican Republic working with Outreach 360 to teach children English. As a member of the Volunteer Center's Special Events Committee, she has helped put together Issue Day, Adopt a Family, Valentines for Veterans and Be My Neighbor Day. Through Circle K International, Octavia has volunteered at the Salvation Army and a blood drive, and hosted a Kids Against Hunger event where over 10,000 meals were packaged for children around the world. Octavia remains committed to service around campus and the community.


Kevin Wilder

Kevin, a Merrill Hall RHA Representative, is committed to two things: his family and his community. He has been involved with Relay For Life since 2007, when his mother, Ellen, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Kevin's dedication to Relay For Life inspired many in his hall to form a Relay For Life Team. The Merrill Hall Relay for Life Team raised $2,109.90. Of that total, Kevin has personally raised $1,650.00. Kevin continues his deep commitment to Relay for Life in an effort to battle cancer.


Tyler Erhorn

Tyler commits himself to various volunteer opportunities around campus, including participating in two mobile food pantries and also signing up for an Alternative Weekend break to benefit the cause of Urban Renewal.

Tyler also serves as the Peer Mentor for the Athletic Management Residential Community, and promotes service and community involvement to his community's constituents.