TU students, SA representative reflect on Service Day
Student Association’s annual Service Day has come and gone, leaving volunteers and organizers to analyze what worked and what can be improved for next year’s event.
From the administrative side, SA Community Service Executive Director Griffen Livermore feels that the event was largely a success. Livermore notes that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, thanking his team of “Associate Directors [who] spend countless hours contacting different organizations… organizing times and activities for TU students to volunteer/partake in.”
Another part of the work SA does before the event is securing transportation to and from all volunteer sites for the volunteers, though Livermore says that “the transportation company we used was especially helpful with ensuring every organization got to their sites on time, and returned to TU when they were done.”
The end result of this work was around 375 student volunteers, close to the volunteer count at last year’s event and around eight percent of the TU student population. Volunteers from 46 student groups worked at 24 sites across the Tulsa area. Livermore notes that something holding the event back is the “inability to send all-school emails,” but has faith that next year’s event will be better marketed and provide a better experience for more volunteers.
The major expenses for this year’s event came from buying breakfast, lunch, and fleece quarter-zip jackets for volunteers, along with transportation. Though exact numbers weren’t given, Livermore says this event cost less than last year’s, and that “the few remaining lunches were donated to a local homeless shelter.” Livermore feels that the cost for these items was worth it, saying “The feedback I have heard from most students was that the breakfast and lunch was great, the fleece jacket they received is very comfortable and that they enjoyed their volunteer experience at their sites.”
Cassandra Meador, a volunteer with Fisher South residence hall who worked at the Laura Dester Shelter for children removed from unsafe or unstable homes, felt that her experience was easily worth her time. Between her group and the Society of Women Engineers, there were around 15 volunteers at the site helping to rebuild and secure a fence around the shelter. The work went fairly quickly, which meant the groups were able to spend time with the children at the shelter while waiting for transportation back to TU. Though Meador wishes that there was “more of a challenge in the actual job,” she enjoyed the opportunity to “play with the kids, attend a Tai Chi class with the kids, and even watch a little bit of Pokemon.”
Brian Kwiecinski, who also worked at the Laura Dester Shelter, also appreciated the kindness of the staff for giving them something to do while waiting, but notes that “repairing and screening the fence only took about a little over an hour with all of the people that we had.” There also seemed to be, from Kwiecinski’s perspective, a lack of communication between people at the site that caused some initial issues. “[The contact we were given] was not even present at the shelter nor the staff member that we would be working with on the project. The other staff members were not even aware that we were helping out at the shelter on that day.”
This experience, along with the small amount of work and the number of people at the event, left Kwiecinski feeling that “the entire event felt more like a way of saying that TU makes an impact in the surrounding community and spotlighting SA versus actually doing something for those in need and encouraging people to volunteer more than just once a year.”