Last year, Hiram College partnered with AmeriCorps through the Ohio Campus Compact to implement a student-led student resource center on Hiram’s campus. The goal of the student resource center is for Hiram’s AmeriCorps service members to connect students to resources on-campus and in the local area. As part of this effort, Hiram’s AmeriCorps service members have worked to reopen the Hiram Access Pantry for Personal Items, better known as the HAPPI Place. 

2023 Americorps Student Leaders Jasmine, Jared, and Reyna

Hiram College has three students serving as AmeriCorps service members for the 2023-2024 academic year. Those students are Jared Lapointe ‘24, Reyna Polly ‘25, and Jasmine Thompson ‘25. Last year, Lapointe and Maya Henry ‘23 served as Hiram’s AmeriCorps members and won Hiram’s 2023 Student Leadership Award for the Most Sustainable Event or Initiative. 

As AmeriCorps members, students are required to serve a total of 450 hours for the academic year, attend professional development and training, host two campus service events, and be able to identify and address the needs of their community. 

Hiram’s service members operate under the direction of Rebecca Guerrini, senior administrative assistant for the dean of students office. “I am hopeful that we can build an ever-changing resource center that will grow and help support our students in years to come. I love listening to them [student service members] brainstorm and ask questions. They have truly great ideas,” Guerrini said. 

Hiram AmeriCorps Service Projects

Lapointe, Polly, and Thompson are already brainstorming service events for the year that will meet the needs of Hiram students. Last year, Hiram’s AmeriCorps service members hosted a month-long sexual assault awareness campaign, which included distributing teal ribbons to support sexual assault prevention during Sugar Day, one of Hiram’s biggest annual events. 

“One of the best moments in my time of service was seeing an abundance of teal ribbons when attending capstone presentations. It was amazing to see students, faculty, and staff united for a great cause,” Lapointe said to Ohio Campus Compact. Hiram’s student resource center also hosts on-campus blood drives, shopping trips to local grocery stores, and events such as informed bystander training. 

The biggest goal of the student resource center is to teach student leaders to support and give back to their communities. “It’s learning about following through and being a support person for other people. Because when you are the resource center, you learn how to be less selfish and more caring,” Lapointe said. “We chose to do this because we want to do this. It’s not just a job, it’s because we care too.” 

Americorps Student Leaders at Involvement Fair

Through the efforts of Hiram’s AmeriCorps service members to create relationships with community partners for donations, the HAPPI Place is able to provide students with non-perishable, shelf-stable goods. They also provide laundry detergent, pet food, and self-care essentials such as shampoo, toothpaste, tampons, and more. 

The Hiram Student Resource Center and the HAPPI Place are available to all students. Already this year, Hiram’s AmeriCorps service members took donations and created snack kits that were given out in the first-year residence halls during the first week of classes. 

“We just want to be there for students. We want to make sure they know we’re here,” Lapointe said. “You know, because it’s for any students to use. That’s a really big part of it, it’s fully accessible to everyone.” 

Student resource center and HAPPI Place hours

Monday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

Wednesday: CLOSED 

Thursday: 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

Friday: CLOSED 

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

Donations to the HAPPI Place can be made by any community members during open service hours or by contacting americorps@hiram.edu. The HAPPI Place accepts donations of non-perishable, shelf-stable food items, cookware, personal care items, laundry detergent, school supplies, and more. 

By Taylor Cook