Photo by Julia Naman
Many are aware that the Pepperdine Volunteer Center exists, but we often let it escape our attention. The PVC is a mainly student-led organization on campus that allows many to find service opportunities throughout the community. In support of its students is the PVC staff who help volunteers find their niche.
Director of the PVC Peter Thompson said he describes his role as a means of support for all of the programs that are coordinated by the PVC.
Thompson, who started in January 2011, works with the two coordinators for Jumpstart, Amanda McLaughlin and Anthony Rivero, to manage the AmeriCorps grant, which is given to students who participate in the Jumpstart program. He also manages these students as they work with preschool students in low-income areas.
In addition, Thompson works alongside PVC Assistant Director Justin Schneider, organizing events such as Step Forward Day, Project Serve and weekly service programs.
On top of all this, he collaborates with Regan Schaffer, the faculty director of service learning, to support professors and general services in the community.
“Ministry and service have always been a part of my life,” Thompson wrote in an email. “During college, I was involved in service and realized that there was a staff person getting paid to support service. I said, ‘I want to do what you are doing,’ and went to get my master’s in higher-education administration, emphasizing in service learning.”
Once he received this degree, he and his wife joined the Peace Corps in Ukraine. This experience further solidified Thompson’s desire to work in the service field and eventually led him to the job he now holds.
“I have not experienced a more collaborative and thoughtful group with the same willingness to move slowly together to affect change through Pepperdine’s resources and great students,” he wrote.
Thompson added that he is eager to see a few new improvements this upcoming semester at the PVC.
“The first is our continual effort to be more sustainable and, specifically, more environmentally sustainable in our big programs like Step Forward Day,” he wrote. “Second is our new weekly service model and new position of Service Leader.”
For those who are unfamiliar with the PVC’s purpose and its goals, Thompson described it as a resource for students.
Anyone looking for more information on how to use the PVC as a resource can find it on www.pepperdine.edu/volunteercenter. Students can discover weekly service opportunities and register for Step Forward Day.
“You can drop in and serve when it fits into your schedule, you can commit to serve for a semester or the whole year, or you can be supported in your service-learning class,” Thompson wrote. “Finally, the PVC hopes to build awareness, provide opportunities for action and build advocates for deep justice.”
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