Editorial 4.26.13: Student community involvement is valuable

Last week’s storms gave way to some of the worst flooding the Midwest has seen, and Peoria was no exception. If you haven’t seen the footage, the riverfront businesses are surrounded by water, the Illinois River crested at a record-breaking 30 feet and Water Street has been shut down for nearly a week.

In addition to that, homes in surrounding towns have seen extensive damage, and Pekin put a voluntary evacuation into effect.

Besides the usual puddles, Bradley was unaffected. If you hadn’t left the hilltop or watched the news, you probably wouldn’t have known how severe the flooding was.

The “Bradley Bubble” is very much a real thing. For a lot of students, the most interaction they get with the surrounding community involves supporting the local bars. But Bradley is a pivotal part of the Peoria community. It brings business to the town and provides potential employees for local businesses. For the students, getting involved in the community provides valuable networking opportunities and makes it truly feel like home.

It’s refreshing to see Bradley students getting involved and treating community members like they are neighbors. This past weekend, about 100 Bradley sorority and fraternity members took part in “Greeks Give Back,” and nearly 300 students participated in “Service on Saturday.”

By volunteering, students across campus gathered Saturday to help clean up roads and neighborhoods, assisted at many local charities and some placed sandbags to prevent area houses from flooding.

That was a very important gesture, because it wasn’t just students coming together to protect houses and businesses; it was a community effort.

It’s easy to ignore that we’re just as much a part of Peoria that we are of Bradley, but getting involved in what’s going on around us is an integral part of going away to school.

Many students on campus, including the greek community, are active in philanthropic events. Not only does that establish excellent rapport between the campus and the community,  but it also means that if you’ve been looking for a way to get involved there is a campus group for you to join.

The Lewis J. Burger Center for Student Leadership and Public Service also hosts many volunteer events every semester, including “Service on Saturday.”

We’re coming to the end of another school year, and next year will go by just as quickly. Consistently, graduating seniors who are surveyed say not getting involved enough is one of the top regrets from their college careers. And while doing community service work may not be the traditional route to “getting involved” with Bradley, it’s a fun and easy way to show Peoria that Braves are Peoria citizens too.