Each year, incoming first-year students from the Greater Albion area are selected to serve as a Build Albion Fellow. These students are provided with tuition, housing and meals for four years in exchange for working in and serving the Albion community. The service the fellows participate in includes any and all volunteer work within the community.
According to the Albion College Website, “During the academic year, a quarter unit academic course reserved specifically for Fellows provides structure and support for effective service and community engagement. Fellows will participate in a project-based model of service to the community, and dedicated faculty and staff will guide you and work alongside you.”
Sophomore Ian Lee was approached by the program director during his senior year of high school and found out he was one of ten individuals selected for the program over spring break.
“I was emailed by the college when I was a senior in high school, and after I completed the application, I had an interview at the Ludington Center with the eleven others who had gotten through the application portion,” said Lee, “Nine of us, including myself, were allowed into the Fellows, and I was emailed over Spring Break my Senior year with the good news.”
The program’s service work ranges from working in schools to gardening fresh food for the community to working at the Bohm. However, these in-person activities have faced challenges and have been pushed back since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past, we have volunteered by being teachers’ aids at summer school, gardening so that the Albion residents can have fresh food, and helping with Friday matinees at the Bohm,” said Lee, “These are all in-person activities, so the pandemic ground things to a halt. We weren’t really able to do much of anything the past year other than simply planning a post-pandemic response.”
Once the pandemic is finally under control, which is looking more and more likely as the number of vaccinations increases, these in person activities, as well as other innovative service practices, will be occurring.
“Being a Fellow has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I would encourage anyone who is approached to apply,” said Lee.