New Students Get Feet Wet with Service Day

Published: Aug 25, 2009
From scrubbing floors in the apartments of the disabled to painting the facilities for abused children to maintaining a nature trail in one of the area’s parks, one thing is for sure.

New and incoming transfer students will be getting their feet wet.

“It’s a good way for students to get to know the area,” said Megan Frisque, assistant director of civic engagement in the Office of Student Leadership and Engagement. “It introduces them to their new home.”

The 10th annual Into the Streets Orientation Service Project will be hosted Aug. 28 by the P.E.A.C.E. Volunteer Center. More than 550 students have registered, almost doubling the number involved last year. More than half of the new Honors Program students have signed up and will be participating together.

“It helps students get out and get to know people,” said Mike Seitzler, head coordinator of the P.E.A.C.E. Volunteer Center. “It gives you an experience to talk about. It’s an ice breaker for the year.”

Students, staff and faculty will be volunteering at 22 different nonprofit agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties like Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Parks and Recreation, It’s All About Kids, Metropolitan Ministries and The Spring.

Nancy McWilliams, community relations director for Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, said the impact of the volunteers on organizations such as her own is meaningful. For the agency’s Spic & Span for Seniors project, volunteers help clean the apartments of the elderly and disabled, scrubbing floors and bathrooms, washing windows and thoroughly cleaning kitchens.

“The needs are enormous. Many elderly or disabled local residents are isolated and lonely. They desperately need companionship and a little help,” McWilliams said. “They want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Volunteers make a huge impact when they share their time and show compassion for those in need.”

Participants are to meet at Falk Theatre between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Ten buses will transport volunteers to each site and return them to campus by 5:30 p.m.

While registration for students is closed, faculty and staff positions are still available. To register, contact Seitzler or Keri-Anne Kolodiej at (813) 253-6263 or peace@ut.edu.

For more information on P.E.A.C.E., click here.