Raising marks. Raising money. Raising roofs. That’s the motto of a winning society.
At last year’s first annual Impact Awards, Dalhousie Students Offering Support (SOS) seized the Most Charitable Society award. This year the group followed up with the Best Student Society Award.
“SOS combines charitable work with academics, and encourages members to give their time in a number of ways,” says DSU Vice-President (Internal) Aaron Wolf.
The awards selection committee, which consisted of two DSU councillors, two students, two members of the Impact Awards Steeting committee, DSU VP (Student Life) Gavin Jardine, and Aaron, were looking for a ratified society that “demonstrates a high level of consistency in event planning and delivery, high participation and attendance by its members, and sets an example for other student societies.”
“SOS met these requirements by having consistent events (tutoring sessions through the last few years) as well as a phenomenal balance between meeting students where they were at (with respect to academics) alongside charitable work,” says Aaron.
Supporting sustainable education
Students Offering Support was a movement started by Greg Overholt at Laurier University. It was brought to Dalhousie four years ago.
“Since then our society has been growing every year, and we've been making more money,” says executive member Amelia Moffat.
Since last year, the society has doubled its funds, collecting over $10,000 in the first semester alone. It’s almost reached its goal of doubling that amount by the end of the academic year.
Direct proceeds go to the national Students Offering Support sustainable education projects in Latin America, where local communities decide how best to use the money to tackle their toughest problems.
Last year the society sent a team of students to Nicaragua to help complete the expansion of an elementary school. It hopes to spark the same incentive this summer, which Amelia says is open to all students.
The Dal SOS team also offers exam aid review sessions for first-year students. It mainly works in the sciences but recently has been branching out to Stats/Calc/Economics. Students receive a two-hour review session and a take-home review booklet (usually 20 pages with lots of notes and review questions).
A society of compassion
Although the group asks for a $10 donation from the students it helps, it isn’t mandatory. “We would never deny a student help,” says Amelia.
The main motivation of SOS’s activities is, obviously, compassion — something every student society should be striving for.
“Believe me when I say that it was not an easy decision to name SOS the winner,” says Aaron. “We spent more time discussing this award as a committee than any other one. The other two nominees, eSports and Commerce, were fantastic as well. Basically, societies looking to win this award should have a lot of events, with high participation, and should try to include people from as many walks of life as possible.”
Dal SOS is always looking for new members, and Amelia encourages anyone interested to contact the society via Facebook.
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