Create Good: Giving Back Through College and Community

As with most college freshmen, there comes a moment - after you’ve settled into your classes, learned how to live with roommates, and spent the better part of several afternoons getting hopelessly lost on campus - when you start looking beyond your personal concerns and begin realizing (perhaps for the first time) that the world doesn’t end at your front door. Universities are potent incubators for social causes, and I was lucky enough to attend one that puts an emphasis on community involvement and giving back. Colorado State University in Fort Collins is well-known for its volunteer programs, and I was encouraged along with my peers to reach out to local nonprofit organizations.

I had participated in a number of community service projects in my pre-college years, but my first experience with local volunteerism in my new Fort Collins community was with Habitat for Humanity. I showed up bright and early on a Saturday morning with a group of others from my freshman dorm, where we got a crash course in safety from the dedicated volunteers who form the core of the Habitat crew. While I was a little nervous about the responsibility of building a safe family home with absolutely zero construction knowledge, I shouldn’t have worried. There are always plenty of competent supervisors to train new volunteers, and before you know it, you’ll be standing on a ladder with a nail gun or hammering tar paper into a roof. Watching a house slowly take shape - and knowing that you played a part in its construction, and the betterment of life for its future occupants - is an experience like no other.

People climbing ladders and nailing shingles to the roof of a Habitat for Humanity house.

It’s been a long time since my first foray into the local nonprofit community, but that feeling still sticks with me. As any nonprofit accountant at Altruic Advisors could tell you, the very best part of my day is when I know I made a difference, however small, by helping a nonprofit organization create good in the world. Whether we’re reconciling a bank statement, conducting a financial audit for the board, or simply sharing our clients’ exciting news, we leave work every day with the same sense of pride and humility that I first felt as a student volunteer watching a new house go up before my eyes.