Several hundred incoming CU-Boulder students tried their hand helping others during “Day of Service” on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Day of Service is an opportunity for first-year students to get out into the community they are entering and experience its needs and culture beyond the borders of the CU campus, according to Jen Ross, director of the Volunteer Resource Center at CU-Boulder, which spearheads the service event.
One of the goals of the service day is to help students connect with their new community.
“We feel that going out and getting involved in the community when you first arrive at school is a good way to introduce students to service,” Ross said. “Our hope is that we guide students toward sustainable service as part of their everyday life as opposed to a one-time service experience. We want students to feel connected to their campus community and their surrounding communities.”
In 2012, 120 students worked on community projects with five organizations. This year, first-year students from the Stearns East residence hall in Williams Village and the Leadership Residence Academic Program participated. The student projects included painting and beautification at University Hill and Creekside Elementary schools, and a University Hill cleanup project with the University Hill Neighborhood Association.
Participating students had a chance to learn first-hand about group leadership, personal responsibility and what it means to contribute to a community’s well-being. CU-Boulder senior Rachael Kelley worked as a project leader during Day of Service and hopes she made a difference not only in the community, but also with the incoming students.
“Through serving the place that has filled me up with a real sense of community and respect, I’ve gained an appreciation for the amount of work it takes to maintain such a beautiful, happy place,” Kelley said. “For all the incoming students who have just left one home, some coming from hundreds of miles away, this sense of home is so important.
“It’s my hope that by serving throughout Boulder on the Day of Service, they can feel an inkling of this amazing sense of belonging to a community that I now hold,” she said. “I hope they come back for more. Amongst all the voices imploring freshmen to ‘get involved,’ I hope that involvement in our larger community doesn’t get lost.”
Other volunteer and service opportunities available to CU-Boulder students include: