CACTUS creates PCs on Call system to strengthen community service base

Luisa Venegoni, Senior Staff Reporter

The Community Action Council of Tulane University Students will begin training next month for its new Project Coordinators on Call initiative. PCOC is a leadership program designed to shape members’ abilities to motivate and coordinate with individuals in community service settings, as well as strengthen relationships with community partners.

The initiative was developed to meet the needs of community partners requesting volunteer support. PCs on Call will be assigned to specific projects based on their interests, experiences and skills, and will be responsible for communicating with these partners, recruiting volunteers and leading service days.

CACTUS Council Chair Sydney Licht said the program is a continuation of CACTUS’ training efforts for large-scale days of service such as Outreach Tulane and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. She said providing trained, experienced leaders to coordinate service initiatives will create more sustainable partnerships with community organizations.

“On a regular basis, CACTUS receives requests for volunteers from our community partners,” Licht said. “A lot of times, these requests don’t directly coordinate with a specific club’s mission. Now, when we get a request, we can approach a PC on Call whose interest relates to the project.”

PCOC members will also take part in thorough leadership training sessions provided by community partners.

“CACTUS provides foundational training for the leaders of our organizations, but we have been working on developing a more intensive and accountable leadership training,” Licht said. “PCOC gives us the opportunity to empower passionate, interested and well-trained leaders to get more heavily involved in service opportunities throughout the city.”

Johanna Kester, Center for Public Service community service program assistant and PCs on Call coordinator, said program members will bring what they learn in the trainings back to their own campus service organizations.

“Some of the conversations we plan on having in these training sessions are extremely important,” Kester said. “We’re excited to see our organizations grow as they begin to use this information.”

Sophomore Mike Mahoney said the program will add a new and needed element to CACTUS’ structure.

“PCs on Call is a great addition to the current framework implemented by CACTUS because the programs allows for more flexibility,” Mahoney said.