By Stephanie Collins

Looking to help students connect with their volunteer projects this semester, Student Life is sponsoring a “Social Justice Film Series.”During this series, films related to community service will be shown in the Herndon Lounge, located in the Powell Student Center. Each film will coincide with a service project that students are involved with.

Each year, Student Life sponsors a variety of these projects, some of which target a specific need in a community, such as providing meals for the homeless or reconstructing homes hit by storms. Other projects try to add something to an area, such as sprucing up the landscaping at a rundown neighborhood park.

Brian Perry, the assistant director of Student Life, said he hopes the film series will offer viewers a glimpse of the service projects being conducted by Eastern students.

“We have wanted to add an educational aspect to our service initiatives,” Perry said. “We thought the film series would be a great start.”

The movies will tackle a variety of subjects, such as environmental issues and homelessness. And Perry said he hopes they’ll help students get a sense for what it’s like to be in the subject’s shoes.

Some of the films being shown include “Addicted to Plastic,” which is a documentary about the negative impact that plastic, despite its convenience to consumers, poses to the environment. Perry said the film is a nice window into the clean-up work that student will be doing for their service project at Lake Cumberland.

For National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, which begins Nov. 14, the series will feature the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which features Will Smith struggling to raise his son as a homeless parent.

“The film series will hopefully help students understand the underlying issues of the service projects,” Perry said.

Student Life officials said they also hope the films will do more than entertain.

“We are hoping students will see the films and have a desire to get involved,” said Miles Owen, a community service intern. “We are trying to let them know that there are issues they can have an affect on.”

A large portion of Eastern’s service projects are scheduled to coincide with the university’s holiday breaks, which makes it easier for students to take part, Perry said. It’s all part of Eastern’s Alternative Break Program, which places students in communities throughout the United States to learn about those areas and help with various volunteer projects. .

Some of this year’s destinations include Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Student Life hopes to video some of these trips, using the footage to contribute to the film series in the future.

“Hopefully next semester we can include films from our alternative break trips,” Owen said.

The next film in the series will be shown on Oct. 27 from 8 to 10 p.m. Admission to any of the films is free. For a complete schedule or more information involving community service, students can visit the Office of Student Life located in Powell.