It’s no secret criminal justice students at The University of Olivet are living by the mission to do good to others. As if dedicating their academic and professional lives to civil service isn’t enough, students of the Criminal Justice Honor Society (CJHS) are on a mission to do good in their personal lives as well. This spring, the group hosted a special fundraiser and supply drive for the Great Lakes Burn Camp.
The Great Lakes Burn Camp is a program of the University of Michigan’s Burn Trauma Center, providing a safe space for burn victims age 6 to 17 to meet, heal, grow and support each other. There is no cost to participate in the camp which offers swimming, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing and crafts. It focuses on helping children build the social confidence and the ability to cope with life after being burned with the support of nurses, occupational and physical therapists, Michigan firefighters and social workers.
“The partnership began due to our the previous CJHS president, Larissa Ludwick ’17,” explained current CJHS president junior Brandie Pomeroy. “Larissa volunteered as a camp counselor for the Great Lakes Burn Camp and suggested we support the camp because they needed supplies. The CJHS has always wanted to donate to as many charities as we can. The fundraiser occurred for the second time this year as the members of the society all felt great after the first fundraiser. We were able to collect so many donations and give a lot to the camp.”
Students collected summer and winter clothing essentials, hygiene items, camping supplies, sporting equipment and monetary donations March 25-29. However, junior Madeline VanderVeen, vice president of the CJHS, says the fundraiser was more than just supporting the camp — it was also an opportunity to help child victims learn that they can always trust and count on law enforcement officials.
“As criminal justice students, we will often have careers where we respond to people who are hurt in traumatic events and may suffer like these kids have,” Madeline said. “It is important for us to work with them in ways that help us create strong, positive relationships. We are creating hope for the future.”
For both Brandie, who has plans to work as a patrol deputy with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, and Madeline, who plants to become a forensic scientist to analyze crime scenes, the fundraiser is also proving to be an excellent source of career preparation.
“The CJHS allows students or organize, plan and host events,” Madeline emphasized. “These opportunities help students develop the tools to do the same in the future. Every job in criminal justice, as well as in many other fields, requires organization, patience and presentation of proposals.”
Brandie added a similar testament. “I believe the fundraiser is helping to prepare Olivet students for successful futures as it is allowing us to build teamwork and communication skills,” she said. “The CJHS runs on in-person meetings and communication through group messaging and emails; we ensure everyone is able to work together without issue.”
These two young leaders also agree on another benefit of hosting the Great Lakes Burn Camp fundraiser and drive — the experience is instilling a lifelong value of service in them and their peers.
“Service is an important thing to The University of Olivet as a whole — it is engrained in The Olivet Compact. Staff and faculty share that they feel very strongly these principles build character and students exemplify this by becoming well-rounded individuals,” Madeline said. “The CJHS is a fantastic organization and group of students who always have new ideas for events on campus and amazing organizations to work with that have great causes.”
Brandie hopes to continue creating a welcoming environment to all at OC through service. “I believe it is important to give back to your community because it is your home and no matter what you, want to see it become better,” she said. “Giving back to your community is greatly important because it is the place where you became who you are.”
Learn more about the CJHS and The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or email@example.com.