Baruch students find happiness in giving back
Published: Sunday, February 21, 2010
Updated: Sunday, February 21, 2010 23:02
Eungi Kim, an upper junior and psychology major, decided to join New York Presbyterian Gwang Myung Korean church in 2003. Since then, her stress level has reduced and it has helped her to remain happy.
"One of the things I really like is that although I'm a volunteer for the church, I feel like a valued part of the community. I am helping out at several local soup kitchens and temporary shelters at this time of the year," she said. "I met many new people who I know can help me in my job search, career development and other life goals."
In recent years, research has suggested that altruism can lead to happiness and longer life. Dr. Stephen Post, a researcher at Stony Brook University, and journalist Jill Neimark published a book in 2008 entitled Why Good Things Happen to Good People. Their findings show that giving back at a young age can actually alter physical and emotional health for the better. According to the book, giving back can potentially decrease chances of early death and reduce chances of depression.
According to LiveScience.com, research conducted in 2008 shows that "when individuals dole out money for gifts for friends or charitable donations, they get a boost in happiness while those who spend on themselves get no such cheery lift." The researchers found that while no link existed between personal spending and happiness, spending on others created a boost in happiness, regardless of income.
Li Ji, a lower junior and public affairs major, is among many of the Baruch students who donate blood at least once a year. She feels that "when you do good it always comes back to you in one way or the other."
"I have been donating blood for years now. You never know whose life might be saved this way," she said. "Sometimes people cannot find a person of the same blood group and go through a lot of trouble and stress." She gets a sense of satisfaction, giving back in this way.
Intentional acts of giving can be found all around Baruch's campus. In the beginning of the semester, Baruch Grassroots hosted a textbook flea market in order to make cheap textbooks available to students. Ayush Sukhani, an upper junior and accounting major, was pleased with the prices.
"I saved time and shipping costs. I did not have to sell my textbooks at half price at the bookstore, which is extremely disappointing. Once I sold my books, I was also able to buy the books I needed there," he said. "I hope that Baruch students keep arranging events like that and help the rest of us save money in little ways because it really makes life easy."
Golden Key International Honour Society at Baruch, a nonprofit academic honors organization that recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence in all undergraduate fields, provides economic assistance to outstanding members by means of both undergraduate and graduate scholarships. They also promote altruistic conduct through voluntary services.
Accounting major Mobin Tariq, an upper junior and a member of Golden Key, feels that the society is playing an important role in helping him and has increased his chances of surviving in this competitive world.
"Golden Key sends me regular emails about new job openings, internships, scholarships and study abroad opportunities. They also arrange regular networking events which help me improve my social skills," he said. "The exposure that Golden Key's volunteer activities has gotten me has enhanced my resume. I no longer worry about my future and now I am mentoring other students so I can pass on the knowledge."