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611 Ouachita volunteers act as “Hands of Hope” in Arkadelphia for Spring 2021 Tiger Serve Day

Students wash guard rails during spring Tiger Serve DayApril 12, 2021 - Julia Shands
Ouachita Baptist University’s Elrod Center for Family and Community held its Spring 2021 Tiger Serve Day event on Saturday, April 10, with 75 teams completing 76 projects throughout the Arkadelphia community. A total of 611 Ouachita student, faculty and staff volunteers represented the university with this semester’s theme, “Hands of Hope.”

“A spirit of hope was evident in all that was accomplished during TSD this past Saturday,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international relations. “We had perfect weather, a joyful attitude and dedicated students who worked hard and served with energy and grace.”

“I love being a part of Tiger Serve Day because it gives students a chance to be really enthusiastic about giving back to the community that is home to Ouachita,” said Hannah Martin, a junior psychology and business administration/management double major from Conway, Ark., and member of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “It also gives everybody an opportunity to really dig deep into what makes Ouachita, Ouachita, which is service.”
 
Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team  Students doing yardwork

The Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team was responsible for coordinating projects and assembling teams (left). Many of the Spring Tiger Serve Day projects consisted of yardwork (right).  | Photos by Hannah Smith.

The day’s projects consisted of litter pickup, yard work outside the homes of senior adults and various tasks for local nonprofit organizations and public schools. Out of continued caution for COVID-19 safety, service projects were conducted outdoors.

“I was really excited this semester because we were able to help 20 senior adult homes, a public school, nursing homes and nonprofits. We were still working outside, but we were able to extend our projects to actually see some people in safe ways,” said Judy Duvall, associate director of the Elrod Center. “This has felt like our first normal day at Ouachita in a really long time.”

Along with completing projects around the community, this Tiger Serve Day also thanked healthcare workers for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team delivered goodie baskets and “Thank You” yard signs to medical professionals, displaying the team’s gratitude for their service.

“I don’t think people thank them enough,” said Able Kusaloka, a senior business administration/management & entrepreneurship major from Garneton, Zambia, and member of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “Everybody just assumes that it’s their job, and it is, but they sacrifice so much for our health so they can make sure that we’re safe.”

The Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team prepared for several weeks to host the university-wide service initiative. The student leadership team assembles volunteer teams, matches teams with projects and makes sure volunteers have the tools needed to successfully complete their projects.

“We’ve been preparing for Tiger Serve Day for most of the semester by having weekly meetings and keeping everybody accountable, making sure that everyone has visited their various projects,” said Wade Wilson, a junior Christian studies/biblical studies and Christian ministries major from Springdale, Ark., and member of the Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team. “We’ve also been praying for Tiger Serve Day for a while, so that has been a big part of it, as well.”
 
“I think the biggest part of today was just seeing everyone’s smiles while serving our community,” said Allie Graves, a freshman community and family services major from Texarkana, Texas. “It was nice to see people without their masks. I never thought I would take so much joy in just seeing other people’s faces.”
 
For more information on Tiger Serve Day, visit obu.edu/serve or call the Elrod Center at (870) 245-5320. 
 

Ouachita's Spring Tiger Serve Day on Saturday, April 10, saw 611 Ouachita student, faculty and staff volunteers come out to serve the community of Arkadelphia with the theme, “Hands of Hope.” Lead photo by Abby Blankenship.

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