Service Award Planned

March 17, 1991

WESTMINSTER — A new award named for two longtime Western Maryland College educators will honor student volunteerism and enable recipients to carry out volunteer projects in the community.

The Griswold-Zepp Award for Volunteerism, conceived by alumni of the liberal arts college, will provide a $1,000 stipend to a student or team of students who propose avolunteer service project.

Recipients of the award may carry out projects during the Januaryterm or summer months; they may couple their work with academic credit under the provisions of special studies or internships. Winners ofthe award will be chosen in mid-April by a faculty committee on the basis of the applicant's project's merits. Full-time WMC undergraduates in good academic standing are eligible.

The award, for which alumni and the college have raised more than $15,000, is named for EarlL. Griswold, professor emeritus of sociology, and Ira G. Zepp Jr., professor of religious studies.

Griswold and Zepp helped scores of Western Maryland students in the 1960s who were searching for opportunities to volunteer for social service projects. The two served as faculty sponsors of a pair of historic student groups, Student Opportunities Service and Operation Hinge.

Student Opportunities Service, or SOS as it was better known, was formed in the early 1960s in response to the civil unrest and turmoil that was occurring beyond the WMCcampus. Inspired by the standards set by the Peace Corps, SOS took its first strides in the summer of 1963, when a group of five studentstraveled to the Philippines to help establish a 5,000-volume library.

Other team projects followed in succeeding summers, contributingto the building of libraries in Puerto Rico, Appalachia, and in American Indian communities in Oklahoma. More utilitarian service was also conducted through SOS, including sanitation and youth recreation projects in Puerto Rico, voter registration in Mississippi and community development in Bolivia.

At its height, SOS fielded eight teams of student volunteers in fiveseparate areas of the globe.

In 1966, Operation Hinge was founded on campus with the idea of providing a more direct, closer-to-home approach for students interested in volunteerism. Hinge representatives started out by providing tutoring for minority children in the Westminster area during the school year. Eventually, many Hinge tutors began to assume the role of mentors and confidants to these children. Operation Hinge outlasted SOS and continuedto function into the late 1970s.

Griswold and Zepp supported the idea that WMC students can contribute to society before they receive their diplomas. Now, more than 20 years later, these WMC alumni are contributing again by creating an award designed to encourage a caringand socially oriented attitude among today's youth.

Information: 857-2256 or 857-2290.

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