Here at Northeastern there are hundreds of great student organizations to get involved in! We want to highlight some organizations that you may not know, so we’re interviewing members of student organizations to learn a little bit about them and what their club is about. Tune in every week for a new post from The Club Chronicle!
The Club Chronicle Interview #17: Students To Seniors
Could you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do in this organization?
I’m Megan Hoffman, I’m a 5th year behavioral neuroscience major with a criminal justice minor. I’ve been part of Students To Seniors since its founding in Spring 2016. I’ve held multiple positions in the club during that time. I started off as a group leader and I was responsible for leading volunteer outings and coordinating volunteers and transportation to and from locations. Then I became the PR chair, where I managed our social accounts. Then I was our Vice President of Training. Volunteers have to be trained through our club before they can go on their first volunteer outing so I was responsible for organizing that and coordinating training times. Now I serve as the President so I oversee everything.
What is the mission of Students To Seniors?
We aim to decrease loneliness in the elderly population. There is a high rate of depression and suicide in the elderly population that are in assisted living homes or full time care facilities. For a lot of these people, this is a strange place for them and they may not see family and friends as much as they used to. We go in with the goal of decreasing loneliness by getting them talking, doing activities with them, making them feel like they have someone to interact with. We volunteer weekly, so we have a few outings every week and every weekend. We do different programs like baking, exercise, crafts, and games. In one of our programs we paint their nails and in another we teach them how to use technology. A big thing we like to tell our volunteers is even if the resident doesn’t remember the specific interaction they always remember how it makes them feel, so helping to create those positive emotions is really important.
Can you walk me through how the outings work?
Sign up is on a google form, you sign up for whatever outings you can make. There’s no minimum amount of volunteer outings you need to go to. Then you’ll get an email from a group leader and you will either meet at the center or walk over as a group or travel by the T. Once you’re there you go in and you sit with the residents and talk and do the activity. All of volunteer events are an hour. Just a quick hour to hang out.
Photo from a volunteer outing
So you just have to fill out the google form to get involved?
If people reach out to our email studentstoseniors@gmail we can add you to our email list. That’s where you‘ll get information about our meeting times, that’s how you get the google form, and where you’ll get information about training sessions.
What are your meeting times?
We meet Wednesdays at 7pm in 102 EV. We usually have meetings once a month. Training sessions are also at that time as needed. Just reach out to that email and we can set up that time if you want to be a part of a training session. We also hold training sessions at the first meeting of every semester.
Where do you go to volunteer?
We have about 5 centers we volunteer at. Volunteers don’t have to go to the same one every time. The main goal is to be as flexible as possible for volunteers so that’s why we make it low commitment and fun. We just want you to sign up for what you can.
How many students are involved in Students To Seniors?
We have about 30 students involved, each outing can hold 6 to 10 people.
Where can students find you on social media?
Students to Seniors Northeastern on Facebook and our instagram is s2sneu.
Photo from a general body meeting
What was your favorite outing that you’ve been a part of?
My favorite outing is our glamor gals outing. We go to Susan S Balis right across from the mass ave T stop, so very close to campus, and we paint the resident’s nails. They love it because it’s like a little spa day and they don’t have to travel far. Even with that activity you’re still talking to them and having conversations. Last time I went I heard about a current resident’s travels. Her and her husband lived in France for the majority of their life then they came back here so that was interesting to hear about.
What’s one thing you wished people knew about Students to Seniors?
The rewarding feeling you get after volunteering. A lot of residents love telling their stories and appreciate college students going out to visit. It makes you feel good knowing you had a positive impact on their day.
What is your favorite part about being involved in Students to Seniors?
I think it’s a unique opportunity. When we think of volunteering many people just think of going to hospitals, especially because I’m in a health focused field. It’s a unique opportunity to reach out to a population you may normally not interact with and go to places you may not normally go if you don’t have a relative in one of these places.