Major: Medical anthropology, pre-health track Year: Junior Hometown: Kolkata, India
After two years participating in the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning’s Civic Engagement Scholars Program, Avantika Bhaduri knew she wanted to help new first-year students discover service opportunities at Case Western Reserve University.
As a member of the orientation executive board, Bhaduri got involved in the planning of the CCEL Service Day during Discover Week. Bhaduri and Erin Corwin, assistant director at the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning, talked through experiences in which students could safely engage, including virtual opportunities. CCEL had pulled together a list of service opportunities that could be completed remotely during the spring semester. Bhaduri spent the summer trying out many of the experiences to determine which ones could be completed effectively in the Discover Week format.
“I hope new students realized that there are still ways to pursue service opportunities remotely or in-person (while following social distancing guidelines) even in this unusual year and that they can be meaningful and engaging,” she said.
Through the Civic Engagement Scholars Program, Bhaduri has volunteered with the AmericaSCORES program to teach children about poetry and soccer at Wade Park School. She’s also volunteered at University Hospitals, both in the Center of Emergency Medicine and at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
During those experiences, Bhaduri often interacts with different patients and families each week. But during high school, she had volunteered with a memory care home, a service opportunity she found rewarding.
“Even if they didn’t remember my name or what we’d talked about last week and I’d end up hearing the same story again smiling, there was ‘something’—some kind of trust formed between the residents and me,” Bhaduri said. “In my life, where I feel like a lot of things are tenuous and variable and they always have been and continue to be, that service opportunity offered me a stability that I’d never thought I’d find outside of friends or family.”