UA students get dirty for charity
Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA graduate student John Lopez grabs some paint while participating in the "All Campus Philanthropy" event at the Double V Scout Ranch Saturday. A wide variety of students, UA employees and Tucson residents came out to volunteer by painting or landscaping at various locations around town.
About 300 UA students devoted Saturday morning to grouting sidewalks, painting, landscaping and re-roofing ramadas during the fourth annual "All Campus Philanthropy."
The University of Arizona students braved nearly 90-degree heat during the Project Volunteer-sponsored event. The students helped out nine non-profit organizations, which included the Catalina Council Boy Scouts Double V Ranch and Christmas in April.
"We rely on volunteers to do 95 percent of our maintenance," said Tim Werner, a ranger at the Boy Scout ranch for 11 years.
As he handed shovels and roofing materials to a few bewildered students, Werner said the organization has difficulty maintaining the 360-acre campground.
"Some kids are going to be learning some new skills," he said.
Helen Don, UA systems and industrial engineering administrative secretary, painted the facility's ramadas with her daughter.
"Our daughter is going to be a freshman and I thought this would be another opportunity to be involved on campus," she said.
Cliff Unger, marketing senior and member of Project Volunteer, said the project attracted about 100 students more than last year - the largest turnout ever.
He attributed the success to Project Volunteer's newly formed membership with the University Activities Board.
"The exposure that the University Activities Board has provided has been very beneficial for this program," said Unger, who has volunteered at this event since it started in 1996.
Jessica Watson, co-director of the event and a political science senior, said Project Volunteer tries to make it easy for students to help the community.
"We're the only volunteer outlet on campus," she said. "Students a lot of the time want to volunteer but there's not an easy way to do it."
Project Volunteer sent out letters to 100 non-profit organizations and received 25 responses, said Blaire Rempe, executive director , who is a junior in the Political Science and Spanish and Portuguese departments.
From those responses, the co-directors of the event pick the agencies that provide a productive and positive service, Rempe said.
"Usually, we ultimately like to work with people," she said.
But the students typically get clean-up jobs because organizations do not advise that volunteers initiate contact with people they will never see again.
"All Campus Philanthropy" directors tried to facilitate the charity work by providing transportation to the organizations that need service, Watson said.
"We want to focus on the importance of being involved in the community," she said.
When the students completed four hours of community service, they gathered at the UA mall for a "reflection" session. This portion of the event is what the members of Project Volunteer defined as "service learning."
"Service learning involves the act of providing service to the community, then coming back and reflecting on how your service benefited yourself and others," Unger said.
During the reflection time, many students shared their feelings about the event.
Media arts sophomore Adam Keller re-painted the lines in the parking lot of the Tucson Nursery School and Child Care Center, 2385 S. Plumber Ave.
"We'll never meet those people and they might not even notice the work we did," he said. "It's nice to be that subtle and humble about it."
Communication senior Jeff Niederdeppe said it was nice to get into a new environment.
"I think when a person is around the university they get stonewalled into thinking in one kind of way," he said.