NDSU student's cup full with volunteer efforts
When Anthony Christoffels heard about the University Lutheran Center's plan to open a coffee house, two thoughts crossed his mind. "I don't drink coffee," he said.
When Anthony Christoffels heard about the University Lutheran Center's plan to open a coffee house, two thoughts crossed his mind.
"I don't drink coffee," he said. "I don't know how to make coffee."
But now the 19-year-old sophomore spends several hours each week behind the counter of Elements Coffee House, all on a volunteer basis.
It's just one of the things Christoffels does for the North Dakota State University Lutheran student center.
In addition to three-hour shifts serving joe, Christoffels organizes the center's schedule and trains other volunteers.
He rebuilt the center's Web site this summer and updates it. He creates Power Point presentations for Sunday worship, displaying the song lyrics and Bible verses. He organizes worship and other events, such as music acts and a recent movie night.
These 10 to 15 hours of volunteer work are on top of his 15-credit schedule and a 20-hour a week job at the Northport Hornbacher's in Fargo.
Christoffels, a construction management major from Chandler, Minn., came to the University Lutheran Center the first week of his freshman year.
It was also the first semester for the Rev. Darin Johnson, campus pastor.
Previously, an outside company operated a coffee shop in the center. Johnson immediately started talking about getting it going again.
Elements opened Aug. 22. It's open 7 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.
All the hours are manned by volunteer staff like Christoffels. Even their tips go back into the ministry.
Drink prices are low to accommodate the student clientele. Any proceeds go toward improving the coffee house, Johnson said.
Hours expand next semester to include Sunday evenings and weekday mornings.
The main goal of the coffee house is to provide a place for people to gather and connect, Johnson said.
He enjoys watching Christoffels connect with others and grow in confidence through his volunteer time.
Christoffels said a lot of students don't volunteer because they get lost in the shuffle of a big campus.
"It feels right" to volunteer, he said, "especially for this place."
And while he's learned to make drip coffee and espresso drinks, his first hesitation still stands.
He enjoys the shop's hot chocolate and steamers, but Christoffels is no java junkie.
"There's something about the taste of espresso that I just can't stand yet," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525