I visited the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center in East Austin to help with their Hope Bread Pantry. This project has quickly become a regular of mine. We assist the staff by handing out food to the elderly residents, and we spend time repackaging the products that are donated to the pantry. I enjoy this project because we get to see the relief on people's faces when they receive their food. It has given me a deeper appreciation of the blessings I have in my own life that allow me to focus on school and not just on making it day to day.
I worked with Longhorn Lights out, an organization that I have been participating with since I was a freshman. I love this group because they make sustainability fun. I was assigned a campus building and was able to go through it, turning off lights and monitors that would have otherwise been left on all weekend. Although it did not take a lot of physical labor, this project made a big impact on UT's energy consumption.
I worked with SURE Walk, an organization that I love very much. My brothers and I in Alpha Phi Omega walked students to and from campus buildings and their place of residence. It was a long and tiring evening, but I really enjoyed getting to talk to the students. This project is rewarding to me because I believe that everyone should feel safe when they're walking around campus at night.
I worked with Explore UT again this year, helping with the Austin area schools' 5th grade volleyball tournament. We got to help kids practice each individual skill area while engaging them in teamwork and positive attitudes. It was so exciting to see how much fun these kids were having. I believe we helped improve their experience with volleyball as a whole, especially since some were still unsure of how to play. Overall, it was one of the most rewarding service projects I've been able to do because I combined my love for volleyball with my passion for teaching and mentoring.
I helped with the 2016 Merit Badge University, a program that helps Boy Scouts from all over Texas earn their merit badges. We design classes and ensure that the material meets the requirements for the badges. Then, we get the opportunity to teach these classes, working hands on with Scouts. This is an important project to me because I have a passion for teaching, and as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the Boy Scouts mean a lot to me. I enjoy working this project every year because I can see how much of an impact we make immediately.
We worked with Longhorn Lights Out, an organization dedicated to lowering UT's energy footprint. My group and I took on an entire group of buildings, turning off the lights in each one and making sure that the least amount of power was being used. I never realized how often people leave classrooms lit, even when there's no one around. I cannot imagine the impact that it has on energy use, so I was glad to help make a change.
I helped promote the MD Anderson Blood Drive that occurs every semester. I stood on the sidewalk and encouraged passerbyers to stop and donate. I learned a lot of facts about the importance of blood donation, and I hope that I was able to share it with other UT students.
I worked at the UT Micro Farm, the only sustainable garden on campus. It was rewarding to work with the people who run the farm daily. They are dedicated to the success of their crops, and the research opportunities that they gain are highly valuable at a strong research university like UT. I was a bit discouraged to get outside and get dirty, but I ended up having a great time at the Micro Farm.
I volunteered at an art auction and gala event for the Arc of Austin, a group that seeks to change the lives of mentally handicapped people. I assisted with different stages of the event so that it could run smoothly. I loved getting to interact with patrons and artists because they were some of the kindness, most generous people that I've had the pleasure of meeting. I played a small part in the success of the event, but I enjoyed it immensely.
We helped put together condom packages and handed them out around campus in order to promote safe and healthy sexual behaviors. It is no secret that college students can participate in risky behavior often, so helping curb that is important to me so that fellow students can remain happy and healthy.