Who we are:

Encountering the People, Beauty, History, Culture, Values, and Needs of Athens County through service and friendships.

Service Living connects students from the Ohio University with members of greater Athens Co. outside of their own social sphere- people who have disabilities, are at the end of their lives, or who struggle with poverty.  We build these relationships through semester-long service placements, education, excursions, and leadership opportunities.  It is our hope that through these relationships that the People, Beauty, History, Culture, Values and Needs of Athens County can be encountered in a way that is transformative for both students and for the individuals with whom we work.

Service Living is an initiative of Good Works Inc., in collaboration with the Department of Residential Housing at Ohio University and many communities and families of Southeast Ohio.  As of fall 2012 Service Living is a registered student organization.  Our foundational years were made possible through the generous support of the Athens Foundation and the SugarBush Foundation.

What we do:

SERVICE: Each semester students are able to participate in a 10 week service placement, or as we call them, Transformation Groups. We have a variety of placements which range from building homes alongside families that have never owned their own homes, to visiting with people at the end of their lives, to agricultural opportunities aimed at helping people grow their own healthy food.  Check out our “Transformation Groups” page for more information on our current Transformation Groups.  To look over the application, check it out here: TG Applicaiton Spring 2016

EDUCATION: As a group we explore issues pertaining to the social and environmental health of Athens County, including poverty, Appalachian culture, acid mine contamination, and the locavore movement, among other topics.  We also try to help connect each other with the local news, city resources, and events on campus that tie into understanding our new home.

EXCURSIONS: We know that talking about local issues is not as valuable as experiencing them, and so we host excursions into the county to explore first hand sites of local history and present points of interest.  In the past we hosted a “Structures of Poverty Tour” with the director of Athens County Job and Family Services, Jack Frech, a hiking excursion to the Hocking Hills, and a Historical/Sociological overview of the region led by Bruce Kurhe. Other excursions that have been offered through Service Living have included an exploration of acid mine & watershed remediation efforts, as well as a tour of food producers that produce locally. We also took a trip down the “Route 13 Corridor” and learned about the history of mining while visiting communities that had once been company towns.

For information on events sponsored by Service Living, please check out our “Events” page.

LEADERSHIP: One of our goals is to cultivate leadership skills in our students.  Students who have demonstrated a commitment to listening and learning from the people with whom they work are given opportunities to lead Transformation Groups and to propose, organize, and lead “Greater Good” initiatives in collaboration with community partners. For more information on the “Greater Good,” keep reading below.

What is the “Greater Good”?

Can students organize groups to serve?

We think so.

The “greater good” is a term that we in Service Living use to say, “together we can create  innovative service opportunities to make the world a little better for everyone.”

We know that none of us has all of the answers when imagining a healthier world, and that each person has unique insights into what a healthier world might look like.   It is for this reason that we welcome ideas for Transformation Groups from outside of the Service Living founders. The very process of discussing these ideas is very important to us.

This is where our listen, learn, and do model of action comes into play.  After listening to the people of the Athens County and learning about life and culture in Appalachia Ohio, we invite students to explore new ideas and initiatives to DO something with the experiences and perspectives they’ve gained.   If YOU are a student and YOU have an idea for a service or relational learning opportunity, please share it with us!

While not all ideas will be selected to become Transformation Groups during the semester, they will be discussed and selected based upon how well they fit “the greater good”.   Please do come dream with us.

Here is a news feature on the Walking Harvest, our first Greater Good Transformation Group.

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