IMPACT is well known around campus as the largest community service organization, with more than 60 project coordinators and 16 project sites.
However, many students at Auburn University simply don't realize the incredible impact that the student volunteers have on the Auburn and Opelika communities.
"Many project sites have told us that if it weren't for Impact volunteers and project coordinators coming every day of the week, they wouldn't be able to keep their doors open," said Kennon Pouncey, IMPACT president.
Pouncey has worked with IMPACT for four years as a volunteer, project coordinator and now president of the student-run organization. The biomedical sciences major encourages all Auburn students to give back to the Auburn community through local service.
“Each organization has such a big impact contribution to Auburn as a city, and we're so proud to keep those places going and just offer our support by being present and volunteering with whatever they might need help with that day,” said Pouncey.
IMPACT Project Coordinators
Project coordinators work project sites in the Auburn/Opelika area and serve as a liaison between the site and volunteers to create student volunteer opportunities. They lead groups of volunteers to their prospective site on a weekly basis, as well as participate in special projects throughout the year such as the Joyland Daycare Easter Egg Hunt or Azalea Retirement Home Prom.
“This is my third year doing IMPACT, and I’ve really enjoyed every year doing it. It’s just a really cool way to get out of your Auburn bubble with your studies and friends and go out to a new community to meet people and help others,” said Project Coordinator Blair Englebert.
"I get to see the people that make up our organization and see the sacrifices that they make every week to be able to go to their project site, report their volunteer hours and all the work that goes in behind the scenes," said Pouncey. "I think our project coordinators are some of the best students on Auburn's campus because they have the biggest hearts of most people that I know. As president, I just get to see that and am so blessed by that on a weekly basis."
“We talk about Auburn being one big family, and in my perspective, that’s what IMPACT is. It’s taking students and putting them out into the community, and giving the love that we see every day on Auburn’s campus,” said Project Coordinator Nick McAllister.
Volunteering with IMPACT
With a diverse schedule of times and locations to choose from, fitting volunteer hours into a student’s busy academic week shouldn’t be a problem. All they need before meeting at the intramural fields for a project site is a signed waiver and the willingness to work. The community also benefits from this method of volunteering, as it receives exposure to new volunteers each week. It can also enjoy the work of students that have specifically chosen to be there and want to be serving.
"The beauty of IMPACT is that already we've done all the work setting those times up. You don't have to sign up in advance, you just go whenever it works best for you," said Pouncey.
IMPACT’s project sites include non-profit organizations such as the BigHouse Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Community Market, Humane Society, Storybook Farm and Salvation Army. Many sites are volunteer dependent, so every helping hand makes a huge difference.
The newest project, the Jason Dufner Foundation, is a program that works takes place in the Auburn Arena each Thursday.
“Students that might not get a meal until they come back to school on Monday are given these bags so that they will have food over the weekend. IMPACT’s part in that is helping to bag up those things and just making that food bagging process go even faster,” said Pouncey.
So how is IMPACT different than any other organization on campus?
"IMPACT is unique in that it offers students a way to give back one of the only things they have, and that's time. We don't often have much money or many resources to give to people around us, but we do have time," said Pouncey. "The best way we can spend our time is by giving back to those in our community that really need it and can benefit from it, and that's what IMPACT strives to do."
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