By Derek Devine
New College has officially welcomed its new AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator to campus. Sarah Lapton joins the Student Activities and Campus Engagement (SAuCE) team after working for an AmeriCorp program run by the United Way in Colorado during the summer.
Between a new opportunity to broaden her AmeriCorp experience and a desire to help those who need it most, the VISTA position at New College is a great fit for her, especially as a native of Florida.
“When I found the VISTA Volunteer Coordinator position at New College I knew it would be a great opportunity for my career,” says Lapton. “I am passionate about volunteering so I am excited to have that be my role on this campus.”
Lapton’s main focus will be food insecurity. She will oversee New College’s food pantry which first opened in 2018 and is available to the New College community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I first learned about food insecurity and the challenges many people face while I was in Colorado during the summer,” says Lapton. “I still have a lot to learn, but I am eager to work with students and provide opportunities for them to get involved with the food pantry.
Lapton will also help lead the charge when it comes to other service learning opportunities for students to get involved in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
“Getting students involved with service learning opportunities outside of campus is really important at New College,” says Lapton. “I hope to strengthen existing connections with the community and build many more so students have plenty of options when it comes to volunteerism.”
SAuCE Assistant Director Jada McNeill, who was previously the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator on campus, will work alongside Lapton when it comes to community service projects.
“The VISTA position is instrumental in creating opportunities for students to volunteer,” says McNeill. “As service learning grows on campus, New College continues to find new ways for students to get involved in multiple capacities.”
Lapton is excited to call New College home for the next year and hopes to make connections that make a lifelong difference on and off campus.
“I hope my passion for volunteering encourages others to volunteer on campus and in the greater community,” says Lapton.
— Derek Devine is the Social Media Manager at New College of Florida.