Nearly 700 students volunteered with 22 separate organizations in Tulsa this past Saturday.
In the last four months a team of students including Patrick Culp, Caleb Lareau, Austin Carr, Colleen Yoder, Phil Acosta and Emma Moseley dedicated roughly 100 hours between them to planning this massive project.
Their responsibilities included renting out buildings, ordering and delivering large amounts of food, getting the promotional clothing approved by the Office of Student Affairs, ordering such clothing, arranging transportation and finding places for everyone to volunteer.
The date was set back almost a month due to poor weather conditions, which caused major complications to the event. Nearly 100 people and a few organizations backed out after the event was delayed.
“You would be amazed how many organizations declined our help because they couldn’t think of anything that they wanted help with,” said Culp.
The organizations that saw the most students were A Third Place, YMCA, Up With Trees and Special Kids Care.
At the Westside YMCA, students cleaned up the entrance, a rock bed and a volleyball court in preparation for spring and summer day camps put on for children of the community.
The YMCA director said, “These are projects that would take our staff a tremendous amount of time to do.”
Engineering student Jeremy Savo said, “I like seeing all kinds of people come together to work on a big project because you get to see the progress of it in one day.”
“We all have a blast every year,” said student Ryan DeCook,“This is my third year, and it’s been a great time every year.”
Many students went to A Third Place Community Foundation in Turley, OK.
According to Ron Robinson, the executive director of A Third Place, the organization is “a grassroots, non-profit, all-volunteer community renewal organization.”
Students had multiple responsibilities at two locations owned by A Third Place. Some worked in the main building, helping box up food in a food pantry.
Others worked in a community garden helping to prepare flower beds, construct tables and clear a pedestrian trail so that community members could continue to walk through the garden safely.
Katie Hoffman, Kate Dillon, Bree Vanderburgh and Andrew Parker, members of Alpha Phi Omega, weeded gardens to prepare them for planting later in the spring.
“We are all individuals who like doing service. Service Day is one of our biggest days of the year,” Hoffman shared.
Mathematics and biochemistry major Moujtaba Kasmani signed up for Service Day because, “It’s a good way to give back to the community.”
Meanwhile, members of the TU Student Veteran Organization cleared out a pathway that community members use to go to the post office and grocery store.
“We thought it would be good to give back; we had the opportunity and some people who signed up, so we thought we’d do it together as an organization,” shared Matt Luetjen, a member of the Student Veteran Organization.
At Special Kids Care, students helped paint over some graffiti with a mural and whitewashed a fence. The organization offers childcare services for children with disabilities.
Sophi McArthur, a member of Tri-Delta said, “What (Special Kids Care) do is so amazing, and they work so hard everyday to help the kids, so its nice to come here and help them out.”
Kappa Alpha brought 40 guys to help dig holes and plant trees along highway 169 with Up With Trees.
KA’s President Noah Roberts said, “It’s a good way to hang out with your friends and do something good for the community.”
“We’ve been partnering with the University of Tulsa; they’ll bring in 100-plus students that will help us go from one plateau to another,” said Robinson, a member of A Third Place.
Other organizations echoed this sentiment.
“Every little bit helps,” said the director from YMCA.
To conclude a day of fun and labor, Service Day organizer Culp said, “I hope everyone that came out had a good time, and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it on its scheduled date next year.”