Ouachita Baptist University’s semi-annual Tiger Serve Day set a spring semester record with more than 800 students, faculty and staff members participating in the April 2 community service blitz.
More than 800 volunteers gather for breakfast on Saturday, April 2, before conducting more than 100 community service projects throughout Arkadelphia as part of Ouachita Baptist University’s spring 2011 Tiger Serve Day. (photo by Callie Stephens)
Tiger Serve Day, sponsored by Ouachita’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family & Community, attracted a total of 805 volunteers serving on 85 teams and completing 103 projects for individuals, families, churches and organizations throughout the Arkadelphia and Caddo Valley area. Participants also reached out to communities in Little Rock and Texarkana as part of the student-led service effort.
“The service culture of Ouachita was on full display this past Saturday,” said Elrod Center Director Ian Cosh, vice president of community and international engagement. “The large numbers of people served demonstrates that students not only enjoy service but understand that those who are served are affirmed by the service they receive.”
This marked the second consecutive Tiger Serve Day to exceed 800 participants, representing more than half of Ouachita’s student enrollment. The fall 2010 Tiger Serve Day involved a record 920 volunteers.
“One of the values of Ouachita is to promote a vibrant community and to develop the leadership character of our students,” Cosh noted. “We also believe that in order to be a good neighbor to our community we have to serve in a quality and consistent manner, which is why we have Tiger Serve Day on the university calendar each semester.”
“Tiger Serve Day teams volunteer to do jobs including yard work, painting, washing cars and home cleaning for families and individuals throughout the area,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center. “Many of our families and individuals we worked for this year were elderly members of the community who could not do the work themselves so sending out our students and the savings it provided was substantial.”
The projects are organized and run each semester by a volunteer leadership team of 15 to 20 students.
“The team handles all the publicity, recruits volunteers, visits and records projects to be done on the day and buys the tools needed,” Duvall said. “Besides handling the monetary and organizational aspects of the day, we also spend time in prayer, praying for volunteers, the community and the people in general.”
“There was a lot of hard work and effort put into the projects this year and many students came out to support the efforts,” said leadership team member Rebekah Poynor, a sophomore art and psychology major from Aubrey, Texas. “Participants were pleased with the outcomes.”
Duvall noted that the event has grown to such an extent that some requested projects were wait-listed this semester. She said Elrod Center staff members will work with OBU volunteers over the next few weeks to continue to respond to requests for assistance.
By Breanne Goodrum