With COVID-19 circulating rapidly, and infection rates constantly climbing, it has been increasingly difficult for high school community service clubs to find a venue or cause to lend their support to. Coming near to the end of the school year, many students also desperately need those last few volunteer hours to fulfill the looming requirements of high school and future universities.
In an interview with Kortney Maeda, the president of University High School’s Ecoclub, she said, “Covid-19 has definitely stifled our club’s ability to plan events, hold meetings, and volunteer at local organizations.” Obviously, with the high infection rates and the unsafe conditions that COVID has brought about since March of last year, volunteering nationwide has been called to a sudden halt, due to safety concerns and coronavirus transmission rates exponentially increasing each day.
Maeda explained a new initiative she has been working on with Ecoclub; a new and environmentally friendly solution that is COVID safe and gives back to the community. Ecoclub currently raises money by recycling goods in the community, and is now taking their cause to another level. “We’re working on installing another water bottle filling station on campus from the money we raise recycling each week and are working towards planning an awareness campaign for earth week in April,” Maeda explained. A water bottle filling station, as mentioned, would be a new and innovative way of surmounting environmental and health problems. This initiative will decrease the amount of plastic bottles used and disposed, keep people hydrated and healthy, and all the while limiting virus transmissions. Solutions such as this provide a new perspective, while still considering safe volunteering options.
For some, Zoom meetings and online gatherings may be more convenient and preferred. However, the whole spirit of volunteering and gathering people together to help others has been diminished by COVID. Even with all these setbacks, it is quite remarkable that high school students, such as those in University High’s Ecoclub, have found ways around roadblocks to assist and shine a light through one of the darkest times of the decade.