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 #19: Love Your Melon
Tell me about yourself and why you got involved in Love Your Melon.
My name is Amanda Marom and I’m a second year. I’m a business major, even though, due to the nature of our club, a lot of people are actually in nursing and health sciences. I joined Love Your Melon last fall because my od sister’s friend was the Vice President at Northeastern, and I was looking for things to get involved in. I was always involved in community service in high school and wanted to continue to be involved in college, but I found the club fair overwhelming and I didn’t even see Love Your Melon at it because there were so many things going on. I ended up not joining any community service clubs immediately because I was so overwhelmed by all of the different options. So, I joined a bit later in the fall that year after I found out about it from my sister’s friend. It sounded like an involved club and something I could put a lot of time into, which is what I was looking for. After that, I got more and more involved and then applied for the president role for this year, and now I’m president!
What kind of community service does Love Your Melon do?
Love Your Melon in general supports children battling cancer, as well as their families. We do a variety of things from small activities like making cards and sending them out, to bigger things like dressing up as superheroes and going to hospitals in the area to deliver Love Your Melon beanies to children.
Some Crew Members on Centennial
Do you put on any events?
Not events in the same sense as some other organizations. We do table a lot and we have a swab drive coming up on campus, where we’ll be swabbing people to join the bone marrow registry. Recently, we’ve tried to create more positivity in the community, so we handed out bags of candy in Curry to try to get our name out there because a lot of people don’t know what we do or who we are — and also to brighten people’s days. We partner with 41 non-profits, because Love Your Melon is a national organization, and we also have a lot of ties to local non-profits who have similar missions to ours. Just like sororities have chapters so do we, Northeastern is just one of the Love Your Melon “Campus Crews”. Everything related to hospital visits will be coordinated by the people in charge of the campus crews, but I coordinate everything else on campus and within the Boston community.
How can students get involved?
This year we changed the structure of our club a bit so that it’s easy to get involved. It used to be capped at 30 students, and then we would have a few volunteers who wanted to be on the crew, but there wasn’t a clear definition of what a crew member is versus what a volunteer member is. This year I’ve defined it as: Crew members are people who are reached out to first for all volunteering opportunities and are expected to come to most if they’re available. It’s a group of 20 including our Eboard, and the number is set by the National Love Your Melon Organization. Crew members are the ones that can go on hospital visits because they did paperwork and got approved. Then we have a volunteer group. They are reached out to about 24 hours after the crew is about volunteering opportunities and anyone can join that. Volunteers aren’t required to hit any amount of hours or come to meetings, you give what you want to give. To get onto the crew basically it’s just volunteers who contribute a lot of time and show interest in being part of the crew; we re-evaluate everyone every semester. It’s easy to be on the volunteer list, just shoot me an email.
Crew Members on a visit to the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston
What is the email they should use to contact you?
It is firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have social media accounts?
Yes, we have an Instagram and Facebook. We’re trying to use Facebook for creating and promoting events, and Instagram is more where we showcase pictures of what we’re doing. Our Instagram is @northeasternlymcrew and Facebook is Northeastern University Love Your Melon.
How long has the Northeastern chapter been around for?
The Love Your Melon Fund started in 2012 along with the Love Your Melon hat brand. The Campus Crew program formally started in 2015, including at Northeastern, and now is present in 840 educational institutions across the United States.
What has been your favorite volunteering experience?
The Ronald McDonald House visit I went on last year was probably my favorite. We do a lot of these types of visits, such as activity nights and cooking meals at places like Ronald McDonald, Christopher’s Haven, the Yawkey Family Inn, and places that have a similar mission of giving families a place to stay when they come to Boston for treatment. My favorite experience was at an activity night and we came up with a bunch of minute to win it games. We brought balloons for one of the games and the kids were just obsessed with these balloons. All they wanted to do was play with the balloons, and so we ended up playing with balloons for 2 hours instead of doing the activities we had planned. The parents were so grateful to just sit back and watch their kids having fun, and it was also super fun for us and the kids. We definitely do more meaningful volunteering events than just playing with balloons, but that would have to be my favorite memory.
Some club members on Krentzman
What’s one thing you wished people knew about your club?
I wish people knew more about our crew and volunteer group separation because volunteers really can be as involved as they want to be. When someone sees the club they might not understand the distinction. A crew member has to come to most events and they have to come to all of our biweekly meetings, but volunteer members can just be on the email list and not be obligated to come to anything. I just wish we had a wider audience to reach out to for volunteer events. We’ve had a lot of volunteers who end up coming to just one event and that’s fine. Then we have volunteers who realize they’re really passionate about the club, then they become more involved. Especially because the clearer volunteer group distinction is new this year, I wish more people knew about it and felt comfortable reaching out to me about it. All it takes is an email saying “I want to be on the volunteer list”. I also wished they knew that we do a huge variety of things, because one concern I get when people are thinking about joining is that it’s a heavy topic and it’s hard to handle if you’re always going to hospitals. If you’re not accustomed to that, it can be hard to see. We do build personal connections with these kids, we call them our superheroes, and if their treatment isn’t working or their health takes a negative turn, it’s really hard to see and be around. I wish people knew that we do a variety of things aside from that, it’s not just heavy stuff. We are aware of the toll it can take on people, so we try to have events that are more upbeat. We’ll do potlucks, movie nights, things like that to try to lighten up what we’re dealing with. We try to do fun things with the kids. We threw a birthday party for one girl who’s obsessed with Minnie Mouse so we just had Minnie Mouse everywhere. We went to an arcade once with a kid who loved arcade games. We’re aware that it’s tough to be surrounded by children battling cancer, and we know that it’s much tougher on them, so we try to make all of our events as fun as possible for everyone involved.
What is your favorite aspect of being involved in Love Your Melon?
Love Your Melon has given me something to dedicate a lot of time to in a meaningful way. When I first got to Northeastern, I missed having a set community service program that I went to every week, like I did in high school. As I said earlier, when I went to Fall Fest I got so overwhelmed by the amount of clubs and choices, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my time in college. I feel as though through Love Your Melon, I’m making a difference, if only sometimes for a few moments or hours. I try to create a good balance between working directly with children and their families, and doing things in support of them. We do some fundraising, general tabling, card making, and donation collection, but we also provide many opportunities to interact with children and their families directly. After volunteering directly with people, you understand the effect you will have when we do something as simple as writing cards.