In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 a group of faculty, staff, students, and community volunteers gathered on San Ramon avenue in front of the Science II Building at Fresno State to begin work beautifying the grounds and creating a water-wise garden, showcasing the university’s commitment to being a leader in responsible, sustainable practices in the San Joaquin Valley. The Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning hosts multiple one-day service events in the fall semester and one such event in the spring. The 2014 iteration of the Richter Center’s spring service day was called ‘Spring Into Service’ and featured new and exciting partnerships with different groups and individuals, including Associated Students Inc., Fresno State EES professor Dr. Mara Brady, and Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, Bob Boyd.
With more than 30 individuals, the work was completed rapidly and before lunchtime, more than 800 new trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants were successfully transplanted into many of the parking lots on the east side of campus. Three other sites also featured ‘Spring Into Service’ events: Woodward Park (Fresno P.A.R.C.S.), the McKenzie Preserve (Sierra Foothill Conservancy), and the Boys and Girls Club in the El Dorado Park neighborhood west of Fresno State enjoyed the work of over a hundred volunteers in completing meaningful projects.
What was especially exciting about the work done at Fresno State was that the project was held on the same day as the 2014 Preview Day, in which thousands of incoming Fresno State students and their families visited campus to learn more about the academic prowess of our school. However, as many walked past the volunteers planting trees in parking lots adjacent to the Smittcamp Alumni House, these people were also able to witness first-hand the culture of service that exists at Fresno State. Hopefully they are now able to realize that the more than one million hours of community service work that we as an institution completed in each of the last four academic years are not just numbers on a page; indeed, it is the work of the students, faculty, staff and administration who give so freely of their time and energies for the betterment of the greater Fresno State community, like those who labored early on a Saturday morning, that sums up to a tremendous impact in our city.
After a delicious lunch, courtesy of Subway Restaurant, volunteers were asked to reflect on their experiences that day. For many, this was a new experience, but having the opportunity to talk about the work that was done and why it was important was meaningful to all of the volunteers as many expressed when it was their respective turn to talk. Even more exciting than hearing what the volunteers thought of the day was hearing what they planned on doing as a result of Spring Into Service. Many said that this was one of their first service projects, but that they did not plan on making it their last and were eager to learn about ways to get involved with the Richter Center.
As related to these students on ‘Spring Into Service’ day, the Richter Center student leadership groups are currently accepting applications for the 2014-2015 teams! Students are encouraged to apply for the Richter Center Ambassador program, the S.E.R.V.E. (service experiences through Richter volunteer events) committee, and the ReFs (Reflection Facilitators) program. Visit our Recruitment webpage for more details and to download an application. Applications are due on Friday, April 25th at 12:00 PM. Stop by the Richter Center in Thomas Building Room 107, call 559.278.7079, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak with a current member of the RCSL team for more information!
What are your spring service plans? Did you participate in Spring into Service? What about the experience sticks with you?