Student Life

Showing Gratitude on Campus and in Your Community

How to show appreciation for friends, family, and community members.

Student Contributor, Jasmin Kaur

October 24, 2022

Showing Gratitude on Campus and in Your Community
Seven ways students can show gratitude.
Between juggling homework, spending time with family and friends, and making sure to stay healthy, giving back to the community and fitting in some volunteer time can seem impossible. However, there are various ways to show gratitude for your community and campus with a little extra time! One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of gratitude is volunteering, and with it comes the thought of spending every weekend at the animal shelter. While volunteering can require a certain amount of dedication (who doesn’t love spending some time with dogs), it is understandable that college students don’t have too much free time on their hands, if any. However, despite a strict budget—both fiscally and timewise—there are still numerous ways to show gratitude in your community!

Join a club!

One of the best ways to get involved on campus is to join a club. And to give back to your campus community at the same time, consider participating in a volunteer-oriented club. You’ll be able to meet new people and make some great friends, all while supporting your community. Additionally, while giving back is a reward in itself, it doesn’t hurt that you can also list the organization on your resume.

Look for online opportunities.

If you’re a commuter or someone with a rather hectic schedule, carving out time to fit in late-night or pre-scheduled meetings can be difficult. While participating in person is crucial for social well-being, sometimes online volunteering can also help foster that sense of participation. Numerous organizations seek virtual reading and math tutors to help students catch up and allow you to work with a schedule that's best for you.

Organize a supply or food drive!

Organizing a food or supply drive is an excellent way to give back to the community and show just how much you appreciate it! Late July and early August can be a great time to host a back-to-school drive to gather school supplies for families who may not be able to get everything on the list. On the other hand, November and December are ideal months to hold food, toy, or clothing drives for Thanksgiving and Christmas! Not only will you be showing appreciation for the community, but you'll also be bringing the community together through the volunteering efforts.

Host dorm activities around the holidays.

If you're an RA (and if you aren't, then you can suggest it to your RA), think about hosting activities around the holidays to cultivate a community culture on campus. Consider a game night or informal dinner to get students to participate more actively on campus and meet some new people. Fostering a sense of community is the first step to showing gratitude for that community.

Support your public library!

Think of yourself as a reader? Consider going to your local book sale! Public libraries benefit immensely from their annual or semiannual book sales, and you'll be able to snag home a couple of new reads at a much lower price than from the average bookstore. Additionally, some smaller libraries also sell homemade baked goods, so you'll be able to stock up on both treats and books at the same time, all while giving back to your community! Public libraries, while unfortunately often overlooked, are an essential part of the community. From providing free educational resources to allowing access to computers and other technology, they play a crucial part in building a strong community.

Support local businesses.

Another great way to show appreciation for your campus or local community is by supporting local businesses! Instead of ordering at a chain restaurant, consider visiting the local diner or cafe instead. While some items may be more expensive, knowing that you’re helping a local business is worth it (plus the food often tastes much better)! Likewise, instead of stopping at Starbucks for that morning caffeine, visit your campus coffee shop instead. You'll be supporting both student workers and your university, all while catching up with friends on campus.

Simply say thank you.

One of the best–and simplest–ways to show gratitude is by saying thank you. Take time to say thank you to a professor in person if they provided a reference for you, or even if you simply enjoyed their class at the end of the semester. Say thank you to friends for supporting you through both the good and the bad. Say thank you to family members for their support. Say thank you to the dining hall staff or the waiter/waitress at the restaurant for their service. Saying thank you and giving a smile can often go a long way, and it shows that you notice and appreciate the other’s support. Showing gratitude on your campus or community doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture. Oftentimes, small daily acts such as shopping or eating local, participating in campus activities, and saying thank you can go a long way. Strive to look on the positive side and remain grateful for the good things. 

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