The University of Olivet – Being More and Doing Good in Port Austin, Michigan

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The University of Olivet’s founding mission is rooted in service to others. Offering multiple service trips each semester, The University of Olivet students have multiple opportunities to experience what it means to Be More and Do Good beyond the campus.  

Olivet’s first service trip this semester was to Port Austin, Michigan. There, a group of students worked at The History Center of Port Austin moving furniture, doing property maintenance, and cleaning artifacts. After the renovation of a new building, the Center welcomed the help of Olivet students to move displays into the new building and get the Center ready for opening to the public.  

Senior Cassidy Inks, a criminal justice major, said this was one of her first opportunities to travel for a service opportunity because the pandemic disrupted many of the previous years’ plans. She appreciated the opportunity to get to know other students while also giving back to the community.  She said, “Moving furniture and other simple services were meaningful because they helped bring light to the history of the town. Moving furniture helped organize the historical center, meaning the history that tells the story of the town can be better viewed and understood.” 

Lyndsey Katz, a senior studying accounting, said, “I decided to attend the trip for the experience and to meet people on campus outside of my major.” Like Cassidy, Lyndsey found it impactful to get to know other students on this trip and how working alongside each other creates a unique bond. While moving furniture might not seem significant, doing it together builds camaraderie. More importantly, Lyndsey said, “I noticed how our service brought joy to the people who work at the Center.” 

Business management student Ulrick Meighan said he went on the trip for the chance to travel and serve the community of Port Austin. “It’s good to get away and out of your comfort zone,” he said.  

Just because it was a service trip doesn’t mean the group didn’t have fun. They stayed at the home of Mike Fales’ ‘75, M.Div., M.Min., director of service learning and campus ministries and associate professor of interdisciplinary studies and religion. The group had ample time to hang out, play games, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and enjoy meals together on the shore of Lake Huron. The simple pleasure of skipping stones – something all Michiganders attempt to master – was one of the most memorable parts of the trip for both Cassidy and Lyndsey. A visit to Grindstone General Store, home of the biggest ice cream cones in the Thumb, was also an experience the group won’t forget! 

Near or far, The University of Olivet students are making a difference in the lives of others. Whether moving furniture, building an access ramp or repairing a roof, The University of Olivet students raise their hands and say yes when asked to help others. 

To learn more about the The University of Olivet service program, contact Jacob Richards ‘18, community service coordinator and director of the Difference Maker Program at jrichards@uolivet.edu 

This feature was written by Savannah Baker, a senior studying English and business. The former editor of Olivet’s literary journal, Garfield Lake Review, Savannah now pursues her interest in writing and editing as a marketing intern with The University of Olivet.     


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